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By Sarah Le, Epoch Times September 27, 2016
CITES is considering a proposal to reclassify all African elephants to the category Appendix I, which only allows trade in “exceptional circumstances” for species “threatened with extinction.”
The elephant is already classified as Appendix I, the highest level of protection, in all member states except Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. However, another proposal by Namibia and Zimbabwe seeks to lift the ban on international ivory trade, purportedly in order to fund conservation efforts by selling stockpiles and to support communities living near elephants. Yet trading allowed in the past by CITES has shown to increase international demand and poaching.
China is the biggest ivory consumer, but has announced plans to shut down the domestic ivory market. The U.S. has recently enacted an extensive ban on the sale of African elephant ivory.
The African elephant population originally plummeted during the 1970s and 1980s from about 1.3 million to 600,000.