On March 14th Elephanatics sent a letter to Minister McKenna asking her to enact legislation to close the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada. This last week both the United Kingdom and Taiwan announced they were implementing strict domestic trade bans. The following release was sent to media asking if the Canadian government might follow suit?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC – Elephanatics, an elephant advocacy non-profit group in Vancouver, was thrilled with Tuesday’s announcement that the United Kingdom will enact one of the strictest bans on domestic elephant ivory trade in the world. Only a few narrow exceptions will be allowed and violators will face up to five years in jail or an unlimited fine.
Response to the call for a global ban on domestic ivory markets was strengthened even further by Tuesday’s announcement that Taiwan plans to close its internal trade to help shut down illegal ivory markets worldwide.
On March 14, Elephanatics sent a letter to Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, asking the federal government to close the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada. The letter was backed by 95 national and international signatories including International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Big Life Foundation, Wildlife Direct and Dr Richard Leakey, to name a few.
The following members of parliament have lent their support to the letter: Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) and Fin Donnelly (Port Moody-Coquitlam). Solicitor General, the Honorable Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam) and member of the Legislative Assembly, Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour) also signed.
In addition, over 140,000 people have signed Elephanatic’s petition asking the Canadian government to ban the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada. The petition is here.
The illegal trade of ivory is decimating one of the world’s most iconic keystone species, bringing it to the brink of extinction. Even worse is the heavy involvement of criminal networks where the money funds militant and terrorist groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Fran Duthie, President of Elephanatics says, “We would like to see the Canadian government enable legislation as soon as possible to end the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory. In light of the recent news of the UK closing its local ivory trade with minor exemptions and China, France and the US enacting strict bans on their ivory trade, Canada needs to take a leading stance beside the rest of the international community and ban all domestic trade in elephant ivory.”
Every year approximately 20,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory. There has been a 97% decline in their population in the last century with an estimated 415,000 remaining. Conservationists and scientists estimate they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if the rate of poaching does not change.
Elephanatics looks forward to the government’s response to their letter submitted to the Minister on March 14.
Elephanatics is a Vancouver-based elephant advocacy organization that promotes the long-term survival of African and Asian elephants through conservation, education and action.
Tessa Vanderkop – Director of Advocacy