A call for domestic ban of ivory and rhino horn in Australia

The Australian government will be asked to enact a total ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn in a communiqué that will be hand delivered to Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg on Monday 26 September.

Signed by over 50 conservation organisations from around the world, the ban would be a move to ensure Australia commits to playing its role in saving elephants and rhinos from extinction in the wild in the near future.

The communique will be presented by Australian NGO founders Donalea Patman (For the Love of Wildlife) and Dr Lynn Johnson (Breaking The Brand) together with Fiona Gordon of New Zealand based environmental firm Gordon Consulting and Rebecca Keeble of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

In 2014 Ms Patman took the plight of Africa’s lions and the canned hunting industry to her local MP Jason Wood. Just 18 months later the former Environment Minister Greg Hunt made the decision for Australia to be the first country to ban lion trophies and body parts from entering the country. The ban was implemented just months before Cecil the famous lion was killed.

Since then, France and the Netherlands have followed Australia by banning lion trophies. The United States has severely restricted import laws to curb the canned hunting and captive breeding industries.

Ms Patman said that despite Australia’s strict border controls, the sale of ivory and rhino horn has been seen in shopping strips, auction houses and online. IFAW has released it’s report“Under the Hammer” which exposes the rampant trade, showing just how much is traded in the oceania region.

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“This simply isn’t good enough given 30 per cent of elephants have been wiped out in the last seven years and rhinos are being butchered on a daily basis.

“Lions are being farmed for hunting and to satisfy a growing demand for their bones,” she said.

The communique coincides with the opening of 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Protection levels and whether or not to legalise trade of products from these animals will be on the agenda.

“Australia is geographically positioned and complicit in the illegal trade and it is time that we see a greater effort to combat trade,” Ms Patman said.

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“It would seem that Australian laws are not fully enforced. Auction houses self-regulate and without enough officers in the field, there is a staggering rise in wildlife items for sale.

“An ivory shipment was discovered at Perth airport last year and an investigation by South African Airways found the cargo was mislabelled. Despite communication from the government, we are uncertain as to the outcome and what happened to the ivory,” she said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-09/customs-seize-ivory-in-air-cargo-at-perth/6381712

Ms Patman is also co-hosting this Saturday’s Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions together with My Green World. The march calls for member nations of CITES to vote for the strongest protection levels for elephants, rhinos and lions, and to vote against legalising trade of products made from their body parts.

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“We are fast running out of time to save these animals from extinction,” Ms Patman said.

“With what we know to date, we will see these species gone within the next 10 years,” she said.

The letter to the Minister states: “We cannot bear to be witness to the continued annihilation of these animals. As we mark the start of CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg and the Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion, on 24 September 2016 in Australia and around the world, we stand as one, we stand for wildlife and ask the Australian Federal Government to enact a complete ban on the domestic trade of rhino horn and elephant ivory.”

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Contact:

Donalea Patman – Director, For the Love of Wildlife

fortheloveofwildife@gmail.com | +61417 939 042

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Global March Melbourne

More than 135 cities will join the Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion on the opening day of Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to demand these species are listed as Appendix 1 to offer the highest protection possible. The Melbourne event will start at 11am at Alexandra Gardens, walking down South Bank to Red Stair Amphitheatre.

GMFERL Logo  Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion – Melbourne

Despite the serious message, this event is asking people to onesie up for wildlife and #MarchAsOnesie for a family friendly event. We want children to be engaged as the future guardians of these animals, to reconnect them to the natural world and show that we deeply care about the plight of Africa’s wildlife, the environment and all species.

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In communities worldwide, extinction anxiety is building and more-and-more concerned citizens are turning to their governments to ask them to step into the void and enact domestic bans.    

The continued slaughter due to poaching, trade, illegal trafficking, human animal conflict and loss of habitat is pushing these species to extinction. If world leaders and Governments around the world don’t take immediate action they will disappear before our very eyes.

The recent elephant census has chilling results. The only place where elephants aren’t being decimated is Kruger National Park in South Africa but then we hear there are whispers of a cull due to the current drought. Heartbreaking news to hear that 26 elephants have been poached in one of the last safe houses in Africa – Botswana.

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The demand on wildlife products from Asia and specifically Vietnam is having a brutal impact. We’re at a loss to understand why there’s still discussion and debate about opening trade on rhino horn and ivory. Despite tough border security Australia is complicit with more than enough evidence of items for sale through retail stores, auction houses and online – many aren’t antiques and certainly don’t have appropriate paperwork.

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There’s also concern that the burgeoning taxidermy industry does fall outside the capacity for officers to appropriately investigate, only able to seize illegal products but lack the authority to question or search.

If the slaughter continues at current levels, elephants, rhinos and lions face extinction in the wild within a generation.

But this is not an inevitable scenario, if all countries act now to eliminate demand by closing domestic ivory markets. If demand ends, the poaching will too, giving elephants and rhinos a chance to recover their numbers. The CITES conference is where critical decisions affecting the future of these species will be made, may be the last chance to take bold, principled steps that will give elephants, rhinos and lion a final lifeline to survival.

The captive breeding and canned hunting operations in South Africa feed the lion bone trade and despite Australia banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts in March last year, with France and the Netherlands following and the US putting strict import laws in place other countries are slow to act. The change in Government in the UK has put back efforts by local NGO’s with their Government seeking advice from Safari Club International, one of the drivers of canned lion hunting. You have to question the moral code of any human who thinks killing a hand reared animal in a fenced area is ethical or even possible to be considered “hunting”. Despite the fees paid for a hunt, the carcass remains the property of the farmer who can further profit by selling to the Asian market for approximately $5000 a carcass.

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“Unless immediate action is taken by all countries to put an end to the ivory and horn trade, we may be the last generation to see elephants and rhinos in the wild,” said Denise Dresner of Action for Elephants UK. “We hope everyone who cares about their survival will join the march on September 24th and demand action from their governments to save them.”

We ask that Australia takes decisive and clear action now, within it’s own jurisdiction, to target the matters at the very heart of this issue: consumer demand and legal domestic markets.  

Ivory Necklace

Ivory necklace for sale through Leonard Joel Auction House

A domestic ban would close down markets which ultimately provide a means to legally dispose of illegal rhino horn and ivory – an activity that undermines the rule of law, international trade bans and the CITES processes. A publicly announced domestic ban would help to reaffirm ivory and rhino horn as unacceptable commodities.

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Items for sale in South Yarra, Melbourne.

As a collective we ask for action throughout the Oceanic region.  It’s time for courageous and visionary leadership from all corners of the globe, to ‘do their bit’ to stop the slaughter. Too much is being asked of Africa’s wildlife, particularly the elephants, rhino and lion, under the ‘if it pays it stays’ approach – animals have a right to exist, well beyond being viewed as mere commodities.

We commend the Australian Government on their global leadership as demonstrated with the implementation of a ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts – a visionary and courageous step taken by Minister Greg Hunt. Announced in March 2015, months before the death of Cecil, this ban could well be considered the biggest step for lion conservation.

We cannot bear to be witness to the continued annihilation of these animals and on this day, we mark the CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg and the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions commencing on 24 September 2016, we stand as one, we stand for wildlife.

We are very proud to have guest speakers Lynn Johnson, Breaking the Brand, Fiona Gordon, Gordon Consulting New Zealand (thanks to IFAW) and Director of For the Love of Wildlife, Donalea Patman presenting at the event.

Lynn in Kenya

Dr Lynn Johnson interviewed over 50 people from the Kenyan Maasai, including Maasai warriors to understand what rhinos meant to this group. She also interviewed people who were of Kikuyu, Samburu and Luo decent about what rhino meant to the people of Kenya.