Kenya is among 25 African countries that have adopted a declaration demanding a total ban on ivory trade worldwide.
The countries, through the African Elephant Coalition meeting in Cotonou, Benin, have called for immediate and decisive action to save the African elephant.
Representatives from the countries stressed that African elephants are facing the worst crisis since 1989 when all populations were listed on CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), banning international ivory trade.
“As a result, elephants are being decimated at an alarming rate throughout Africa, while human lives are being lost in attempts to protect this global flagship species,” the delegates indicated.
They said the protection was weakened in 1997 and 2000 when populations in four Southern Africa countries; Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were down-listed to less endangered status to allow two sales of ivory stockpiles in 1999 and 2008.
“Between 2011 and 2013 alone, more than 100,000 elephants were killed for the ivory trade,” they revealed.
The Cotonou Declaration aims to end this crisis by committing to strengthen collaboration between member States to secure the highest possible protection for all African elephant populations under international law.
Participants proposed a strict ban on all international and domestic ivory trade, including re-listing all African elephant populations as most endangered. They also called on other countries and organisations to support the proposal.
The coalition also discussed other threats to elephants, particularly human-elephant conflict, as well as the difficulties member States face against determined and well-armed poachers, and in enforcing laws to combat poaching and ivory trade.