On March 14, 2018, Elephanatics sent a letter to Minister Catherine McKenna asking the Canadian government to close the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada.
We are thrilled to have been supported by 95 distinguished national and international wildlife and animal advocacy organisations, conservationists, scientists, Members of the Parliament of Canada and the BC Legislature. Some of the signatories include BC SPCA, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Big Life Foundation, Born Free, World Elephant Day, Stop Ivory and African Wildlife Foundation.
Noted elephant research scientists Dr Richard Leakey, Dr Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, Dr Joyce Poole and Dr Cynthia Moss also put their name to the letter.
Enclosed with our letter is a link to our online petition for the public to also ask the Canadian government to ban the domestic trade of elephant ivory. The petition has garnered over 130,000+ signatures and is growing every minute.
The astounding groundswell of support for the #ivoryfreecanada campaign is telling. We know that African elephants will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if countries continue to allow the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory. The flow of illegal ivory through legal domestic markets is well documented.
Kenya and 29 other African Elephant Coalition countries petitioned the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2016 to call for the total closure of all remaining ivory markets. Countries such as the United States, France and China have already closed their domestic ivory trade. The United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan and likely Singapore will also soon follow suit. Due to the US Administration over-turning their ban on elephant trophy imports on March 1, 2018, there is additional onus on the rest of the world to increase their efforts to protect elephants.
The astonishing number of signatures on the petition demonstrates the public no longer tolerates inaction by governments, while elephants are being decimated in the hundreds of thousands by greedy poachers. INTERPOL estimates the worldwide illegal wildlife trade at up to US$23 billion a year, making it the fourth most lucrative organized crime after drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting.
Our ask of the Canadian government is an opportunity for real leadership on an important worldwide issue. While Canada may not represent the largest market for elephant ivory, by banning the domestic trade it signals to the international community that Canada is committed to leading the fight to save the world’s most iconic keystone species.
Julie MacInnes, Wildlife Campaign Manager of Humane Society International/Canada, a signatory on Elephantics’ letter says, “CITES has recommended that all nations with ivory markets that contribute to poaching and illegal trade close these markets. Multiple seizures of illegal ivory in Canada in recent years clearly indicate that an elephant ivory market closure is warranted, particularly given the items seized likely represent only a small fraction of the problem. It is time Canada respect the CITES recommendation and protect elephants by prohibiting ivory trade.”
Elephants don’t have to go extinct. It’s a choice that is made by people and by governments. We are asking the Canadian government to take a lead role, as other international countries have done As a country we not only have a responsibility but a moral obligation to be part of saving one of Earth’s most precious animals – the elephant.