Boost to Elephant Protection Laws Rejected

Boost to Elephant Protection Laws Rejected

Yusuf Rahman, Reporter

Despite having lots of support, a proposal from Kenya to give more protection to African elephants has been rejected due to not getting a two-thirds majority vote at the Cites Conference. There were many mixed opinions about this, as some believed that it was a missed opportunity to help decrease the poaching of elephants, as well as being able to protect the future of the species. On the other hand, some people believe that the elephants don’t reach the criteria for being listed on Appendix I and that they are better listed as Appendix II. Appendix I, II, and III are lists of animals that are given different levels and types of regulation and protection. Appendix I gets the most protection, since they are the most endangered, while Appendix III gets the least. Elephants are listed as Appendix 2 as of after the Conference.

Elephants are dying at the rate of one every 15 minutes as the £1,000-a-pound price for their ivory on the black market perpetuates a global crime racket. As the votes were being counted, the Vietnamese authorities were reporting the seizure of 682 lbs of elephant tusks illegally imported from Nigeria. (

The main reason the proposal did not go through was due to the EU. The EU’s vote was crucial in whether the elephant’s protection would be increased. However, they opposed the laws, ultimately resulting in the laws not going through. The EU voted as a block, which meant that they all came together and voted the same. As such, this resulted in 28 votes against the proposal from the EU. The total vote count in the end was 62 for, 44 against, and 12 abstained.

Many delegates at the convention were disappointed with the EU. For example, Dr. Roz Reeve, senior adviser to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, said, “I’m deeply frustrated and ashamed, if it hadn’t been for the EU we’d have had elephants on Appendix I by now and that would send a massive signal to the world.”

There were other proposals made at the conference, including proposals from Namibia and Zimbabwe to open up ivory markets. However these proposals were also rejected.

Until something is done about the problem, poaching and ivory trade will continue. Getting elephants on the Appendix I list would have been a big step closer to solving the problem, as it would raise awareness, and would get people to make a change.


Source: “Efforts to boost elephant protection fails at Cites” by Matt Mcgrath (BBC News)