Namibian Sun

Ellanie Smit,
January 15, 2019

Namibia has submitted proposals to the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to amend regulations
protecting elephants and rhinos.

Namibia was among 90 countries that submitted proposals to amend the lists
of species subject to CITES trade rules.

Countries submitted 57 proposals to CITES seeking to increase or decrease
protections for 152 wild animal species affected by international
commercial trade.

These include conflicting proposals on elephants, with nine African
countries wanting to up-list the African elephants of Botswana, Namibia,
South Africa and Zimbabwe from Appendix II to I in the face of an
insatiable poaching crisis, while a proposal by Zambia seeks to down-list
its elephants to Appendix II to allow international commercial trade in raw

Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, whose populations of the species are
already on Appendix II, want to weaken existing restrictions on their
ability, and that of South Africa whose elephant population is also on
Appendix II, to export ivory to consumer countries.

Namibia has also proposed to down-list its population of white rhinos to
Appendix II, to allow international commercial trade in live animals and
hunting trophies.

The proposals will be up for consideration at the next World Wildlife
Conference – the 18th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CITES
which will be held from 23 May to 3 June 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

For the first time, a proposal has been submitted to include the giraffe,
the world’s tallest land mammal, under CITES.

There is also a proposal to list the mammoth, an extinct species, in CITES
Appendix II to regulate trade in mammoth tusks dug up in places such as
Siberia. Illegal elephant ivory is sometimes sold as mammoth ivory, which
is legal at the moment.

The listing of a species in Appendix I effectively prevents all commercial
international trade, while those listed in Appendix II can be traded under
special permit conditions.

“The stakes are high under CITES and robust debates are to be expected.
Decisions taken in Colombo will have a real and immediate effect on the
legislation, regulation, and operating practices across the globe for
international trade in the species concerned.

“Decisions taken at CoP18 will also alter their conservation and
international trade management, and have direct impacts on biodiversity,
livelihoods of rural communities and national economies”, said CITES
secretary-general Ivonne Higuero.

In addition, a record of 140 documents proposing new measures and policies
on international trade in wild fauna and flora were submitted for
consideration by the Conference.