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Protection of the African Elephant from CITES

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Great news for the protection of the African Elephant. Kuki Gallmann from the Laikipia Nature Conservancy travelled to Doha, Qatar to voice against the proposal to allow the selling of ivory. Thankfully CITES held up the previous ban.

Great work to Kuki. Many thanks for your hard work and commitment to the fight.

Here is the letter from Kuki.

Dear Friends,

After a freezing and short visit to New York where I received the Africa Foundation Award for my work with communities, I returned to a green Ol ari Nyiro, and our projects there. We hosted various schools and the Caine Price for African writers

I am delighted to announce that after a tense series of meetings, characterised by  harrowing discussions and blatant favoritism, where despair and impotence set  alternated with glimmers of hope, sanity prevailed in Doha today, when Tanzania and Zambia request to sell their ivory and to downgrade the elephant to Appendix 2-which would have opened the door to future sales- has been rejected by the delegates.

I travelled to Doha to be of service to a cause in which I believe- and to support Kenya’s stand- that led the way against the proposal.

After a few tragic years-following the  ivory  sales by four southern African States-, in which Kenya lost hundreds -may be thousands-of elephants to poaching in anticipation of the lifting of the ban, I felt it was important to leave no stone unturned to ensure a positive outcome of the quest-which looked very uncertain up to the last minute.

The strict relation between allowing the trade in some countries, and the illegal slaughtering of elephant around the continent,  is the point that I stressed  with delegates who had not quite made up their mind.
If uncertain, one should always vote for life.

Allowing trade in some  African states, means stimulating poachers , dealers and brokers in others to accumulate tusks for the black market, and  to keep alive a  shameful market that simply should not exist.
Not in 2010,  the “Year of  Biodiversity.”
We should know better.
Remember my friends: ‘Ivory’ is only a glamorous, glossy name for a tooth, a body part of  wild animals whose habitat has already been restricted, whose corridors and ancient migratory routes have been interrupted, and who valiantly keep going despite everything with their silent grace, intelligence and compassion, all qualities that sometimes seem lost to the human beings who are appointed to play God and are entitled to decide- with a stroke of a pen- to end lives in places far away-where most of them have not been and about which most of them do not really care.

The nurturing and respect for the web of life of which we are all part seem remote and alien to most, who see every  living thing in a marketable way.

For as long as this is the case something is seriously wrong in our system.
Here the survival of lizards, iguanas, coral reefs, birds, sharks, polar bears and bleu fin tuna has been discussed, with certain species such as polar bears  and blue fin tuna losing the battle!!
Japan and China are leading in opposing  practically every single motion to protect dwindling species.

I return to Kenya tomorrow bringing hope to our elephants herds and in trust that  the  CITES plenary session will  reconsider short-sighted  decisions, and confirm strict protection of all the species that have been discussed here.
It was extremely difficult, and I was glad to be part of this.

Our  commitment to biodiversity and habitat preservation,  wildlife monitoring and protection, reforestation and community projects, education, culture, relief, public health , conflict resolution through sport and art, and the pursuits of the endeavour of the human spirit continues unabated, with joy, optimism and enthusiasm.
I thank you for your support and encouragement and  send blessings to you all.

Kuki

Kuki Gallmann
Laikipia Nature Conservancy

From Doha Qatar

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