CITES CoP18 – Press release n°2
Geneva – 14h22
The proposal by Chad, Senegal, Niger, the Central African Republic, Kenya and Mali to monitor the international trade of living giraffes as well as skins, paws, hairs, tails, skulls and other parts of the fallen queen of savanna was accepted by 106 votes in favour, 21 against and 7 abstentions.
“The situation is serious for the giraffes. This majestic species was left unprotected”, declared the delegate for Senegal during the debates preceding the vote. Giraffe population declined by 40% during the last 30 years. For Charlotte Nithart, Robin des Bois representative in Geneva, “it was time for the international community to react, giraffes are collateral victims of the elephant extinction. Their bones are more and more used as an ivory substitute. They are also a prime victim for those who want to take home a bit of dead Africa as well as for zoos”. The main identified markets are the United States and Euopean Union, but the absence until now of protection didn’t allow for a detailed knowledge of the trade. The major known exporter is South Africa who, along with Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (ex-Swaziland), Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, wanted to escape control of this international trade. “Refusing the listing of giraffes to CITES’ Appendix II means playing along with illegal trade, it means opposing the transparency and traceability of trade”, reminded Senegal. The amendment proposed by Southern African countries with the aim of excluding themselves from international trade control was rejected. “Trade has no boundaries and militias are at work”, reminded Kenya. “Unfortunately, this protection comes too late for the already extincted giraffe of Mali”, bitterly notes the country’s delegate.