African elephant populations have decreased by 110,000 over the past 10 years, the biggest decline in 25 years, according to the African Elephant Status Report presented Friday at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) underway in Johannesburg. Poaching is the worst conservationists have seen in Africa since the 1980s and loss of habitat is becoming another long-term threat.
That’s why it is critical that Friends of Animals’ supporters tell the U.S. CITES delegation ASAP to vote YES to a proposal that would restore all African elephants to CITES Appendix I, a classification which would prohibit commercial trade globally. (The CITES conference concludes Oct. 5) This is the radical change we need to end the exploitation of elephants before it’s too late.
Please reach Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell by calling (202) 208-3100; sending an email to: Secretary_jewell@ios.doi.gov, or writing to Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240, and tell her to instruct the delegation to vote yes to the Appendix I proposal.
While the United States has made important policy advances of its own to protect elephant populations: a near complete prohibition of domestic ivory markets, the destruction of ivory stockpiles, and the creation of a Presidential Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, this is the most critical initiative it can take action on. The years from 1990-1997, when all elephant populations were on CITES Appendix I, and there was no question that any commercial trade in ivory was illegal, represent the “gold standard” for elephants, when they enjoyed relative peace from poaching.