By Stefan Nicola
Germany joined the U.S., China and 27 other nations that agreed to raise efforts to protect elephants in Africa by cracking down on poaching and the trade of ivory.
The countries agreed on 14 measures to protect the animals after meeting in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, this week. The steps include classifying poaching as a serious crime, strengthening cross-border law-enforcement and reining in demand for ivory in Asia with information campaigns, the German Environment Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement.
A fifth of Africa’s elephants may be wiped out in the next decade if poaching continues at its current pace, with about 22,000 killed last year, according to a Dec. 2 statement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and two wildlife-trade monitors. The animals, poached for their ivory tusks, are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List.
Nations that took part in the Gaborone summit included those where the animals live, ivory-trade transit countries including Malaysia and the Philippines, and nations with high demand for ivory such as China and Thailand, the ministry said.
“The conference resulted in concrete improvements for elephants in Africa,” German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said. “I hope that we can now break the dangerous trend toward more poaching.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Stefan Nicola in Berlin at email@example.com