Zim still considering Cites exit?

Top Stories Zimbabwe

…giraffes might be added to the list

Takudzwa Chihambakwe

Zimbabwe is sitting on stocks of rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks worth over US$1 billion which the country cannot sell because its trade has been banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES).

At the just ended CITES Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, most European countries upheld the ban on the sale of elephants or their tusks globally. President Mnangagwa has in recent days highlighted that what the European countries are doing is unfair.

“Europeans have consumed all their animals, but they want to set rules for us who have managed to conserve ours. “They bar us from killing our animals for selling ivory, but they want us to protect them from being poached,” the President is quoted as saying.

Zimbabwe’s acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu who was in Geneva for the CITES meeting, told ZTN in an exclusive interview, that Zimbabwe is still considering leaving CITES, alongside other countries in the Southern Africa region.

ZTN’s Takudzwa Chihambakwe interviews Zimbabwe’s acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu

“It is only Southern Africa that has shown clear signs of sustainable conservation methods,” said minister Ndlovu.

“Our elephants are growing exponentially while in other regions they are facing extinction. The SADC region is being penalized for being sustainable in its conservation methods,” he said.

The minister said the region’s argument is that with an increase of the elephant population, it will be difficult to sustain robust conservation methods.
“Human, wildlife conflict is rising, and it is also putting elephants at risk of
poaching.

“We have said we need to raise funding to maintain our conservancies by selling the tusks we have and trading the elephants, but we are unable to do so,” he explained.

So will Zimbabwe leave CITES?

“It is a position that is not off the table. It is up to the President and government to consider as there are a lot of dynamics involved.

“We have tried over the years to make changes within CITES because we have a good story to share with them. They have a lot of lessons to learn from us and we also believe that if we leave them they will continue to abuse wildlife,” Ndlovu explained.

Minister Ndlovu also revealed that at the Geneva Convention, it emerged that European countries are considering restricting trading of giraffes.

“They want to restrict trade of giraffes, but we will not be bound by the CITES agreements.

“Because like elephants, giraffe numbers are growing in the SADC region. So there is no need for them to try and control our trade in giraffes,” he highlighted.