What’s Going On Here?
A global ban on the zoo trade of baby elephants has just been approved after a heated debate at a conference in Geneva. Whoop whoop! Great news for baby Elmer.
What Does This Mean?
From the 17th – 28th August the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) met for their 18th conference in Geneva, with the aim of cracking down on the trade of threatened species. After days of debate and opposition from Zimbabwe, the main exporter, and the US, the near-total ban was finally approved on Tuesday – result! ✔️✔️✔️
Put simply – baby African elephants will no longer be snatched from their families and exported to captive facilities around the world. Never say never but the trade will be heavily regulated and only allowed in “exceptional” circumstances. Fingers crossed.
Why Should We Care?
Under the previous rule Zimbabwe and Botswana have been capturing and exporting live baby African elephants to zoos in China and elsewhere. Once shipped around the world, the ‘eles’ are likely to be lonely, traumatised and have reduced lifespans 😔
African elephants are an important species for our planet – shaping the landscapes and habitats of African forests and playing a vital role in the success of many other species. Sadly, they’re also officially listed as a ‘vulnerable species’ on the IUCN Red List, meaning approximately 415,000 are left in the wild. Whether threatened from habitat loss, human-elephant conflicts (game guards often shoot “problem” elephants) or poaching – removing them from the wild and selling them into captivity ain’t helpin’ the poor babas.
It wasn’t just baby elephants that benefited from the rendezvous – four other endangered species are also in line for a boost to their protection this month, including the lil’ pancake tortoise 🥞 🐢.
It’s easy to feel far removed from issues such as the global wildlife trade, but don’t let it stop you from learning about the issue and taking action! If you’d like to find out more about African elephants and the work that WWF is doing to protect them, head here. There’s also this petition to stop wildlife crime if ya fancy. ✍️
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