According to the CITES program for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), overall elephant poaching rates at monitored sites remained virtually unchanged in 2014 compared to the previous year. Poaching rates still exceed natural elephant population growth [rates].
The latest figures presented at the African Elephant Summit in Kasane show no increase in the overall poaching trends in 2014, with levels dropping and then levelling off since the peak in 2011. However, with overall killing rates exceeding natural birth rates, poaching trends remain far too high.
“African elephant populations continue to face an immediate threat to their survival from high-levels of poaching for their ivory, especially in Central and West Africa where the situation appears to have deteriorated. We are however also seeing some encouraging signals in parts of East Africa where the overall poaching trends have declined, which shows us all what is possible through a sustained and collective effort” said John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General.
CITES has identified 22 countries that are most heavily implicated in the illegal trade in ivory. These are categorized as countries of ‘primary concern’ (8 Parties), ‘secondary concern’ (8 Parties) and ‘importance to watch’ (6 Parties). 19 of these 22 countries were requested by the CITES Standing Committee to develop and implement National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs). Each plan outlines the urgent measures that a CITES Party commits to deliver – including legislative, enforcement and public awareness actions as required – along with specified time frames and milestones for implementation.
The CITES Standing Committee has recommended that all Parties suspend commercial trade in CITES-listed species with DR Congo, Lao PDR and Nigeria, as these countries have not submitted their National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs) to the CITES Secretariat by the deadline specified by the Standing Committee.
Source: CITES Press Release (edited for space reasons)
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