Botswana, Country Sells 43.3 Tonnes Of Ivory

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Oct 1, 2007
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Botswana, Country Sells 43.3 Tonnes Of Ivory
by Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

Botswana sold 43.3 tonnes of its ivory stockpile to Chinese and Japanese bidders last Friday, Business Today is informed.

The desk officer of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Diana Chimidza, says Botswana had a total of 43.6 tonnes of ivory to sell.

Although the information was still scanty due to on-going computerisation of the data, Chimidza said 21 Japanese and 13 Chinese bidders took part in the sale, which saw Chinese bidders buy the bulk of the ivory, though Chimidza could not say exactly how much.She said prices varied according to quality and that full details about the sale will be released by tomorrow (Thursday). Friday's sale was part of a series of elephant ivory auctions being held in the region for the first time in a decade.

Last year, CITES ruled that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe could sell 108 tonnes of stockpiled ivory to approved Japanese and Chinese buyers. The auction started in Namibia on October 29, was in Botswana on October 31, and was set to move every three days through Zimbabwe (November 3) until it finally reaches South Africa on November 6.

Zimbabwean officials say they have sold almost four tonnes of ivory for over $450,000 and that the money will go to the country's cash-strapped wildlife authorities.

Namibia announced on the same day of its sale that it generated N$13 million. Seven of Namibia's nine tons of ivory stockpile was sold in the one-off sale.

The Namibian media was not allowed to witness the sale but government officials held a press conference afterwards where it was announced that the Chinese had bought 3.84 tonnes of ivory at $176 per kilogramme, while the Japanese bought 3.38 tonnes at US$151 per kg.The United Nations' Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has allowed the four southern African countries to sell their ivory stockpiles in a one-off trade, skirting a ban on dealing in the product until 2016.

China was approved in July this year as a buyer of legally stockpiled ivory. To gain approval, China had to convince CITES it had put in place adequate measures to tackle any illegal domestic ivory trade and to regulate legal trade effectively.

China was previously barred from participating because of concerns it was buying smuggled ivory.

Commercial trade in ivory was banned by CITES in 1989, but in 1999, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were permitted to make a one-time sale of 50 tonnes to Japan to raise US$5 million for conservation.

The transactions were carried under strict conditions.

Source: Mmegi Online

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