In the past few years, we have seen a big movement toward domestic bans for ivory and rhino horn from major consumer countries, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. However, other countries are lagging behind — in Laos and Japan, ivory is traded openly as a luxury commodity in markets and even online. In New Zealand, carved ivory fetches high prices at auction houses and antique shops, and many items are re-exported under lax regulations and could re-enter the market, fueling demand. African Wildlife Foundation CEO Kaddu Sebunya explains why these countries need to ban the domestic trade of ivory before it is too late for Africa’s elephants.
Ancient elephant migratory routes run through southern Tanzania’s Kilombero Valley, which is part of a dense cluster of wetlands and forests and in the Great Ruaha River Basin and a designated Ramsar site — a distinction bestowed on internationally important wetlands. Allowing elephants and other large mammals to move between protected habitats like the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and Selous Game Reserve, wildlife corridors and dispersal areas are critical in maintaining species health. However, these access routes often cut across large commercial plantations as well as smallholder farms sprawled across the valley’s fertile highlands.
Driven by international poaching syndicates as well as local bush meat hunters, the illegal killing, trading, and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products keep African species at risk. Learn from Didi Wamukoya, African Wildlife Foundation’s Senior Manager, Wildlife Law Enforcement, why the continent needs watertight investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes — coordinated across regions — to adequately protect its wildlife.
When it comes to biodiversity, Uganda is among the world’s most fortunate countries. It claims 10 percent of the world’s bird species (more than 1,000) and more than 340 species of mammals, including the elephant and the endangered mountain gorilla. Though poaching and bushmeat hunting are controlled in national parks and reserves, species loss persists in the acres of community land outside protected areas, as more people settle close to these biodiversity-rich regions.
The tides are turning in the war against the ivory trade. In the past several months, China, Hong Kong, and the U.K. have all implemented or announced bans on domestic ivory trade — long overdue measures to help stop the slaughter of elephants.