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Historic international trade ban is passed

A ban to end the barbaric practice of capturing live wild baby and juvenile elephants in Zimbabwe and Botswana, for trade to zoos and circuses around the world, has been passed.

The ban was passed at The UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva in August.

Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy at Born Free, said:

After a long and sometimes acrimonious debate at the CITES meeting in Geneva, governments voted, by a majority of 87 in favour to 29 against, to ban the taking of live elephants from the wild from Zimbabwe and Botswana for export to captive facilities around the world except in exceptional circumstances. In the event, the European Union, which had originally opposed the restrictions, changed its vote following intensive negotiations to clarify a number of issues with the African countries that had originally proposed the ban.

This progressive measure should help bring an end to the trade in young elephants, particularly from Zimbabwe, that are ripped from their families and shipped to zoos around the world where they are condemned to live shortened and often lonely and barren lives. Born Free has worked for a long time to bring this heinous trade to an end. We will continue to work with our partners in Zimbabwe and elsewhere to secure the greatest possible protection for Africa’s remaining wild elephants.

While this ban is a momentous achievement in itself, it still remains possible for exports to occur for ‘non-commercial’ purposes. The rules around this are complex but nevertheless, while there is more to do, we should celebrate this adoption of a very important principle, and a step towards bringing the global trade in wild-caught live elephants to a permanent end.

Image: Born Free

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