Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe to ask permission to sell ivory stocks

Zimbabwe to ask permission to sell ivory stocks

Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:08pm GMT

* Zimbabwe has one of Africa’s largest elephant populations

* Deadline to request sale in October

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Aug 22 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe has accumulated 50 tonnes of ivory and 
will ask the international body regulating its trade for permission to 
auction its stocks to fund conservation of the animals, the head of the 
country’s wildlife agency said on Wednesday.

The ivory has been confiscated from poachers or recovered as a result of 
natural deaths or government-sanctioned elephant culls, officials said.

Zimbabwe says it needs to raise extra funds to deal with its burgeoning 
elephant population, which at about 100,000 is one of the largest in Africa.

Adult elephants consume about 100 to 300 kgs (220 to 660 pounds) of food a 
day, studies have shown, and officials say their growing numbers are 
straining the impoverished country’s resources and posing a threat to plant 

Some $30 million is required each year for conservation of the animals and 
anti-poaching in Zimbabwe, but Vitalis Chadenga, director-general of the 
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told Reuters the current budget was 
“very far from there”.

“There is a point where our elephant population can get so much to a point 
where they self destruct and this is happening in some of the parks,” he 

In 2008, Zimbabwe was allowed to conduct a one-off sale of 3.9 tonnes of 
ivory by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international group that governs trade in 
plants and animals.

Plagued by corruption, Zimbabwe provided detailed documents to CITES showing 
how the money raised from the sale went directly into conservation.

Zimbabwe faces an October deadline to make its request to CITES if it wants 
to quickly sell the tusks.

However, conservationists worry the sale could fuel demand for ivory, 
especially in the fast-growing emerging economic powers of Asia where it is 
often used in carved ornaments.

Although elephants are prolific in Zimbabwe, poaching and a loss of habitat 
have made them a threatened species in large parts of Africa.

A global ban on the ivory trade was imposed in 1989 and was widely credited 
with stemming the relentless slaughter of African elephants in countries 
such as Kenya.

Occasional auctions from African government stockpiles have since been 

Chadenga said the global ban was not working.

“We have not had a legitimate sale of ivory now but we continue to have an 
upsurge in poaching,” he said. 


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