By Mkinga Mkinga
Dar es Salaam. The government has withdrawn an application to sell to China and Japan over 100 tonnes of ivory valued at over $55.5million (about Sh88.8billion).The request submitted in early October was due to be discussed at the next Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) meeting in March in Bangkok. It had already frawn strong criticism from conservation groups and some so-called “elephant range” states.
Tanzania said in the application that the ivory to be sold would exclude that which was seized from poachers and any whose origin is questionable.
Cites has not yet confirmed Tanzania’s U-turn, but international news agency reports yesterday said the country had withdrawn its application to sell the ivory stockpile because it had failed to curb the poaching of elephants.
The Director of Wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Alexander Songorwa, confirmed to The Citizen yesterday that the government had indeed withdrawn its application, saying it was unable to meet some of the 24 conditions it had been given.
He could not list the conditions nor state why the government had failed to meet them.
“I’m travelling so I’m not in a position to talk further,” Prof Songorwa said by telephone.
Tanzania’s total ivory stockpile, he said, stood at 137,229.20kg, out of which 101,005kg were saleable.
Hundreds of elephants have been killed this year alone, and hundreds of tonnes of ivory seized from poachers. Just a week after Tanzania announced that it had submitted its latest proposal to Cites, Hong Kong authorities confiscated two shipping containers from Tanzania and Kenya loaded with 3,628kg of elephant tusks worth $3.4 million. More....