Source: https://africasustainableconservati...ts-kenya-from-monitoring-illegal-ivory-trade/ A committee on Monday allowed Kenya to withdraw from the illegal ivory trade monitoring process, sparking outrage from conservators. The decision was reached by the Standing Committee to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES). Tanzania, Uganda, Thailand, and Philippines have also been exempted from reporting on the steps they are taking to curb the illegal trade. They are among countries that were required by CITES to develop National Ivory Action Plans and report on their implementation of those plans. In January, the committee asked Kenya to declare its ivory and rhino stock. World Wildlife Fund Organisation (WWF) said the committee exempted the countries from reporting on the basis of their favourable submissions, but there was no adequate independent verification mechanism. In a statement on Monday, the lobby group said this deals a serious blow to international efforts to halt the illegal ivory trade, which is estimated to kill about 20,000 elephants a year. It said Kenya is a major exporter of illegal ivory in Africa. “Kenya and Tanzania are still major exit points for illegal ivory leaving Africa, while China’s recent domestic ivory trade ban has yet to yield sufficient results on the ground to reassure observers that they are adequately addressing their role as the largest consumer market,” WWF said. In January, China started shutting down its licensed ivory carving factories and retail market for rhino horn and elephant ivory. WWF Wildlife Practice policy manager Colman Criodain said countries are effectively suppressing information on illegal trade by not reporting ivory seizures. President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a move to demonstrate Kenya’s commitment to fighting wildlife crime, torched a tonne of rhino horns and 105 tonnes of ivory on April 30, 2016. The 70th CITES meeting is underway in Russia. The forum that runs from October 1 -5, will discuss illegal trade in other species, including tigers, marine turtles, parrots and precious timbers.