Zambia Seeks CITES Support To Sell Ivory Stockpile

by Mar 11, 2010Ivory

LUSAKA – Zambia is lobbying for support to sell its ivory stockpile to Japan and China and use the funds towards conservation, an industry official said on Tuesday.


The southern Africa country wants the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to approve its intended auction at its meeting that starts on March 13.

A nine-year ban on ivory sales was agreed in 2007 under CITES, but Tanzania and Zambia — want to reclassify their elephant populations, as a first step to resuming the trade, a leaked letter from the 23 countries said last week.

The African countries oppose relaxing the ban on the ivory trade.

Francesca Chisangano-Zyambo, head of CITES in Zambia told Reuters the country needs to sell its 21 tonnes stockpile of ivory, partly because it was costly to maintain.

The ivory mainly consists of tusks from elephants that died of natural causes.

“Over the last four years we have spent over $200,000 on building a strong room for security purposes, the wall fence around it and the personnel that we have employed,” she said.


“We are likely to raise $1 million from the one-off sale of the ivory that we have,” Chisangano-Zyambo said, dismissing fears that the sale would encourage poaching.

“We are not irresponsible at all. We are talking about ivory that we have already gotten from the dead elephants. We have done our homework, we have made sure we have done the law enforcement procedures well.”

Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana were given permission to sell their ivory during the last CITES meeting, Chisangano-Zyambo said.

Zambia also wanted CITES to allow it to raise the number of elephants that could be killed in sport hunting from 20 to 100 per year. The country has about 27,000 elephants.

Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) acting director-general Victor Siamudaala said if allowed to sell the ivory, the finances raised would be channelled into major elephant strongholds like the Luangwa and Kafue ecosystems.