- Robin des Bois - http://www.robindesbois.org/en -

France is listening to the elephants’ call

The decision to immediately suspend exports of whole or cut elephant tusks from France announced by Madam Royal, Minister of Ecology, is good. France has also vowed to promote such measure within the European Union.

In 2014, over 3 tons of raw ivory were sold in auction houses in France. This entire amount of ivory was bought by foreign citizens, especially from Asia. In France, ivory is sold between 300 and 1000 € per kilo. In China, prices at present are as high as 6000 to 7000 € per kilo.

Raw ivory sales in France and its export encourage speculation on ivory. Using the cover of legal ivory, ivory networks in Asia sell off illegal ivory.

The situation in Asia and Africa is catastrophic for the elephants. Wild elephants’ future is threatened within 15 to 25 years if levels of poaching and corruption are not halted.

All of the organizations that have signed the letter initiated by Robin des Bois [1] wish this first step to be followed by suspension of all ivory trade within the French internal market. Organizations present at the meeting called by the Ministry of Ecology also requested that all elephant populations be listed again in Appendix I of CITES.

France and the European Union have an important role to play in conservation of elephants. Europe is a hub. Uganda has just seized from packages intended to the Amsterdam Airport 700 kg of tusks. The packages had been registered as containing electronic appliances to be repaired.

Also, regarding the baby elephants from Zimbabwe in waiting for export, the Ministry of Ecology has declared that no import of live elephants captured from national parks or other natural habitats will be authorized.

More good news, the Minister has announced that destruction of seized ivory will take place in the course of 2015. Modalities of the destruction of illegal ivory seized by custom officials and other state services will be consolidated following the first 3 ton ivory stock destroyed in February 2014 in Paris.