Ivory sale to fund conservation

28 October 2008

South African National Parks says that proceeds from the sale of 51 tons of stockpiled ivory will benefit elephant research, conservation and community development.

China and Japan have been accredited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) standing committee to buy the ivory stockpile from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“As specified by CITES, the proceeds from this sale must be used for elephant conservation programmes and community development, especially those communities in and around the area of elephant habitation,” said SANParks CEO David Mabunda.

The sale to CITES will take the form of an auction, but there is no prior indication of what price it will be sold for.

CITES guidelines

South Africa will use the proceeds of the sale of ivory within the specific guidelines which were set out at the 14th Conference of Parties to CITES held in July last year.

CITES guidelines stipulate that a major portion of the money will be earmarked for elephant related research, conservation, anti-poaching measures, monitoring of herds and land expansion.

The sale will also improve conservation through the employment of additional game rangers, obtaining more vehicles, erecting elephant proof fences where needed, purchasing of equipment.

Community development projects will centre on communities affected by the presence of elephants.

Extensive planning

Mabunda said conservation agencies had planned extensively to ensure that the proceeds of the sale would be used according to the specifications.

“There is no argument that this money will go a long way towards enhancing conservation research, boosting our enforcement capabilities and helping communities who share land with elephants,” he said.

The money allocated to the specific programmes and projects within the CITES stipulations will be monitored in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act and National Treasury Regulations.

Source: BuaNews