Tanzania welcomed China’s latest decision to ban ivory trade and processing activities, saying the move marked a historic milestone in efforts to save the giant mammals from poaching.
The country’s Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Jumanne Maghembe said the move would reduce costs African countries injected in the fight against poaching activities.
China on December 30 announced that it will gradually stop the processing and sales of ivories for commercial purposes by the end of 2017.
“I would like to praise Chinese government’s move. It is a great step towards protecting elephants. With the ban decision, automatically, ivory price would decrease and make the business less preferred,” Maghembe said.
“The business attracted many people because they were paid handsome amount to find trophies, a situation that increases killing and poaching of elephants,” the Minister told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
The minister also reiterated Tanzania’s position in protecting elephants, adding other countries should imitate China’s decision.
Tanzania wildlife activists also welcome China’s decision to ban ivory trade, saying that the move is crucial to revive wildlife protection initiatives in Tanzania and Africa at large.
Pastor Clement Matwiga, Director of Rafiki Wildlife Foundation said China has shown beyond doubt that it is a true friend in relation to African problems including giant mammals poaching.
“I would also like to congratulate Tanzania government to be fore-front in fighting elephant poaching; moreover, I would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciations to Chinese government for announcing to ban ivory trade,” Matwiga said.
“This shows how determined China is in protecting Africa’s wildlife, they are once again demonstrating to be our true friends,” he said.
Shubert Mwarabu, Coordinator of OKOA Tembo wa Tanzania campaign or Rescue Tanzania Elephant, said China’s ban on ivory trade is a huge milestone in protecting Tanzania elephant generations.
“The closure of the market will lead to long-term security for our elephants. This is probably the greatest measure that could be taken to reduce elephant poaching,” he stressed.
Demand for ivory in Asian countries are often blamed for increasing haunt and killings of elephants in Tanzania.
A government census of 2015 in Tanzania revealed that 60 percent of elephants had been lost over a period of five years.
Tanzania’s elephant population is one of the largest in Africa. But according to data released by the government in June 2015, between 2009 and 2014, the population had dropped from 109, 051 to 43,521.
Source: FOCAC | Jan 9