Australia Called On To Do Its Bit For Elephants

Credit: Original article can be found here

This World Elephant Day on the 12th of August,
conservation organisations Humane Society International,
International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Born Free
Foundation are calling on Australia to pull its weight in
the global effort to save elephants from further risk of
extinction. This August marks two years since Australia
promised the international community it would close down its
domestic ivory and rhinoceros horn markets, yet they remain
open for business.

Demand for ivory is driving
elephant poaching across both Africa and Asia, and there are
serious concerns that elephants may become extinct within
just a few decades. The African forest elephant has been
declared as Critically Endangered, and both the Asian and
African savannah elephant as Endangered, according to
assessments made for the Red List of the IUCN (International
Union for Conservation of Nature).

The UN Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) has banned commercial trade in elephant
ivory across international borders since 1989 but, more
recently, in order to ensure the ban is effective and to
protect elephants everywhere from the scourge of poaching,
all countries with a domestic market contributing to
poaching or illegal trade have also committed to close down
domestic trade within their borders with urgency.
Australian federal, state and territory governments need to
work together to make this happen without further
delay.

Humane Society International, Head
of Campaigns, Nicola Beynon said: “African elephants lost
96% of their populations in the last century and rampant
ivory poaching is continuing in this one. If elephants are
to survive this century, every country has to do their bit.
Australia must not be a loophole in the global effort to
stamp out the ivory trade”.

Rebecca
Keeble, Oceania Regional Director, International Fund for
Animal Welfare: “Australian governments are committed to
clamping down on the domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn.
Now they need to move from words to action and legislate.
The iconic elephant’s conservation status cannot afford any
further delay.”

Gabriel Fava, Born Free Foundation:
“China, the UK, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the US have
all either legislated or are in the process of legislating
against their domestic ivory trade. The pressure is on
countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan to
follow suit”.

The conservation organisations are
calling for timetabled commitments to introduce legislation
to ban trading in ivory and rhino horn in every jurisdiction
in Australia. We hope to be able to celebrate World Elephant
Day on the 12th August for many decades to
come.

History of the issue in
Australia:

  • September 2016 IFAW released “Under
    the Hammer”
    a report detailing a nine month
    investigation into trade of ivory and rhino horn products in
    Australian and New Zealand Auction houses showing there was
    a flourishing domestic market.
  • December 2016 –
    Leonard Joel becomes the first Australian auction house to
    adopt a voluntary
    policy
    to ban sales of ivory and rhino
    horn.
  • Australia’s domestic ivory and rhino horn
    trade was the subject of a parliamentary inquiry in 2018
    which recommended
    the Commonwealth, states and territories, through the
    Council of Australian Governments, develop and implement a
    national domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhinoceros
    horn.
  • Federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, committed
    to a domestic ban on ivory trade and rhino horn at the
    Conference of the Parties to CITES in August
    2019.
  • Sussan Ley secured agreement
    from Australia’s environment ministers to take this issue
    forward in their national meeting in November
    2019.
  • In 2021 Professor Graeme Samuel said states
    should legislate against the ivory trade in his review
    of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and
    Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
    (EPBC
    Act).
  • In August 2021 Australia’s domestic ivory
    trade remains legal
    and Australian auction houses continue to trade in elephant
    ivory and rhino horn products. Two auctions scheduled for
    15th August include Artvisory
    and Aalders.

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