Tanzania Says Won't Destroy Ivory
Tanzania has rejected outright a proposal from the United States government to destroy its ivory stockpile, believed to be the world’s largest, as pressure mounts on African countries to torch illegal ivory as a symbolic step towards saving elephants, - reported The Guardian.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, told US ambassador Mark Childress
that the country had no plans whatsoever to destroy more than 34,000 tusks weighing roughly 125 tons stored in a closely-guarded warehouse at the ministry headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
It has been estimated that Tanzania's ivory stockpile would be worth over 460 billion on China’s black market.
US wildlife officials say destroying stockpiles of illicit ivory is an effective way to curb a trade that threatens to wipe out elephant populations across the world.
However, Maghembe told the US ambassador and his delegation during a visit to the ministry's headquarters in Dar es Salaam that the country’s stockpiled ivory was still useful for scientific research and as legal evidence in criminal cases against elephant poachers.
South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe are all also strongly against the idea of destroying illegal ivory after each making a profit from their stockpiles in 2008, when CITES approved a one-time ivory sale to China and Japan.
Since 2011, there have been 11 ivory destruction events in 10 countries - Kenya, Gabon, the Philippines, India, United States, China (including Hong Kong), France, Chad, Belgium, and Portugal.