By Violet Mengo
ZAMBIA Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) chairperson Guy Robinson says the authority has intensified sensitisation on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Spices of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to curb the increasing number of Zambians being arrested in foreign countries for wearing ivory bracelets.
Recently, a Zambian woman was arrested in Ethiopia for alleged illegal possession of three ivory bracelets.
Mr Robinson said in an interview yesterday that it is clear that Zambians are still unaware of the law on endangered species arising from the increasing number of citizens being arrested in foreign countries for wearing ivory bracelets.
He said it is assumed that people are familiar with the law on endangered species because Zambia subscribed to CITES many years ago.
“We have been sensitising people on the need to understand the law but a lot still needs to be done,” Mr Robinson said.
He advised Zambians who own ivory products to get permits from ZAWA before travelling abroad to avoid being arrested.
Mr Robinson said if one fails to get a permit for ivory products, the best option is to leave such ornaments at home when travelling abroad.
He said being party to the CITES, Zambia supports the ban on commercial trade in ivory and ivory products.
Mr Robinson said although wearing ivory bracelets is a symbol of cultural identity in Zambia, people should also be cautious of the laws and regulations surrounding possession of such items as it relates to the protection of wildlife.