ZIMBABWE says it will not burn its stockpiles of ivory even if they don’t get permission to sell from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The country is said to be holding stockpiles of ivory worth about US$600 million which they intend to convince CITES to allow them to trade.
Proceeds from the trade have been earmarked for conservation purposes as well as uplifting lives of people in communities surrounding national parks.
There has been pressure from “animal lovers” and such countries like Kenya for countries like Zimbabwe to burn their ivory as a sign of commitment to the conservation cause.
However, countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and Zambia which fall under the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Area (KAZA) are hoping to strike a deal that will see them being allowed to sustainably utilise their wildlife and dispose their stockpiles of ivory and President Emmerson Mnangagwa said should the deal fail to materialise, Zimbabwe will not burn its ivory but will instead keep it.
“The ivory we should keep it and under a model agreed by CITES trade rules, we are keeping our ivory we will not dispose of our stocks because we have not agreed.
“We will not burn our stocks we will keep our stocks and there is no crime in keeping our stocks because they won’t move away from where they are kept and invade other countries,” he said.
According to the President, Zimbabwe’s ivory is well documented in line with CITES guidelines and rules and each task or rhino horn has details of how the animal died.
“Our stocks are well documented if you go to our warehouses you pick one ivory it will tell you where the elephant died and when.
“The record is there this is how it is, scientifically kept records are there but all we are seeking now is that we be allowed to trade,” Mnangagwa said.
Although there have been calls on the country to consider pulling out of CITES so that it can be able to sell its ivory, President Mnangagwa said it is the desire of the country to remain part of the CITES process especially in Appendix 2 for elephants.-