CITES 2019 | GIRAFFE WIN BIG | CONSERVATIONIST

GIRAFFES – BIG WINNERS AT CITES WILDLIFE CONFERENCE

GIRAFFES WIN BIG AT CITES WILDLIFE CONFERENCE

Conservationists now have a reason to smile after countries voted on August 22, 2019, to end unregulated international trade in giraffe parts. This is the first time ever for the species to enjoy such protection.

 

The proposal to include the species in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or Cites) received overwhelming support from parties that were gathered in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

The champions of the proposal included member states from Kenya, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Chad and Senegal. They argued that all nine subspecies of giraffes across the range States must be protected to counter their dwindling populations. While the list cannot exterminate all international trade of the species, it will impose tough measure that will hamper countries wanting to buy and sell giraffe parts.

GIRAFFES WIN BIG AT CITES WILDLIFE CONFERENCE

Dr Philip Muruthi, leading the organization’s delegation at CITES expressed his concerns that in comparison to other species, the subject of giraffe conservation and management was relatively poorly understood and he, therefore, urged range States to enhance their efforts in conserving the species sighting the increasing populations of Angolan and South African giraffe as learning experiences. Dr Philip Muruthi is the Vice President for Species Conservation and Science at African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

 

Scientists have noted with concern that across Africa, giraffe populations have continued to downsize, leading to a phenomenon they call ‘silent extinction’ which is happening right under our noses. They further argue the continent has lost 40 per cent of its giraffe population in three decades and now the population that remains can hardly hit 100,000. Are they right? We hope so.

In his remarks to the journalists, Tom de Meulenaer agreed that there has been too much focus on protecting elephants than giraffes where the latter face a much more serious extinction threat than the former.

Speaking to journalists before the decisive vote to save giraffes, the chief of scientific services at CITES, Tom De Meulenaer said that while most people’s attention had been focused on elephants, giraffes were facing a much more serious extinction threat.

He further pointed out that giraffes were much rarer in the wild than African Elephants as there were only a few tens of thousands of giraffes as compared to a few hundreds of thousands of African elephants hence saw the need for the continent to be more careful.

GIRAFFES WIN BIG AT CITES WILDLIFE CONFERENCE

Did you know the United States of America and Europe have been the primary consumers of giraffe products? Did you also know they both import 98 per cent of giraffe trophies from Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe? Imagine! What would happen if they were given more powers to operate?

 

Elephants, meanwhile, retained their enhanced protection after parties voted against proposals to relax trade regulations to allow for more trade in ivory. These proposals sought to downlist Zambia’s elephant populations from Appendix I to Appendix II and to alter the appendix to make it easier to trade elephant ivory. AWF recommended against both.

 

“AWF considers the re-opening of the international trade in elephant ivory during this period of escalated poaching and trafficking as being detrimental to elephant conservation across Africa. We urge all African elephant range States and the international community to take a firm position regarding protecting Africa’s elephants and to put in place stringent measures that will extinguish the insatiable demand threatening the survival of the world’s largest land mammal,” said Dr Muruthi in a statement.

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