Harare � THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority has tightened its regulations to stop dealers from exporting raw ivory, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
Before adopting the new measures, the country had narrowly escaped a 20-year ban in ivory trade in March following reports that dealers were violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by exporting raw ivory.
The reports had given ammunition to Kenya and other CITES member states that were fighting for a blanked ban in ivory trade.
Zimbabwe survived the onslaught after attempts to extend the elephant ivory trade moratorium to 20 years and ban ivory trade locally failed to gain the support of other countries affiliated to CITES at the Convention’s last meeting held in Doha, Qatar in March.
Newly appointed Parks director general, Vitalis Chadenga, revealed this week that the authority is moving to close all the loopholes that could have cost the country dearly.
The authority has since resolved to regulate the amount of ivory sold to dealers and manufacturers as well as amending the Parks and Wildlife General Regulations of Import and Export of Wildlife Statutory Instrument 85 and 86 of 2010 to stop dealers from exporting raw ivory instead of processed products.
“The issuance of permits for ivory products by dealers has since been withdrawn and will now be done by Parks. There will also be regular inspection of ivory at manufacturers’ premises by Parks and the police Border Control Unit,” he said.
Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that the Parks board had fumed at its last meeting over the reported snapping of the Parks’ rules and regulations stipulated by CITES.
Zimbabwe has more than 34 tonnes of ivory stock valued at about US$5,1 million and if Kenya had succeeded, this would have left the country with no market for its huge stockpiles.
The country’s African elephant population remains on Appendix II of CITES allowing a trade in ivory carvings for non-commercial purposes for Zimbabwe among other forms of trade in elephant products.