Hundreds of thousands of people are calling for a total ban on the sale of elephant ivory in Canada. Yet the government has not responded. A petition that now has over 310,000 signatures, was first sent to the federal government nearly a year ago.
It was launched by Elephanatics, a Vancouver-based elephant advocacy organization, which sent the petition and a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in March 2018. But the ministry has yet to answer the letter or even acknowledge the petition which was one of the biggest Canadian petitions of 2018 on Change.org.
The letter was endorsed by 95 national and international scientists, conservationists and animal welfare organizations, including SPCA, Jane Goodall Institute, Born Free and Wildlife At Risk International.
Elephanatics believes a domestic ivory ban is more important than ever. A staggering 20,000 African elephants are killed each year. Scientists anticipate they will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if illegal poaching isn’t controlled. With the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Flora and Fauna (CITES) approaching in May, the need for an answer is imperative.
“We are perplexed as to why we haven’t received an official response,” said Fran Duthie, president of Elephanatics. “We believe that the war on poaching cannot be won until all domestic elephant ivory markets are closed. 71% of Canadians believe it’s already illegal to buy or sell elephant ivory in Canada. This is a moral obligation to save a keystone species and an opportunity for the Canadian government to play a key leadership role in global conservation.”
Elephant poaching is a global problem that requires bold action by countries around the world. Both CITES and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have asked all countries to ban their internal domestic trade of ivory to save elephants. Canada was one of only four countries to vote against this at the last IUCN conference.
Kate Brooks, director of documentary film The Last Animals,states, “It’s absolutely imperative that every country on the planet enact legislation to combat the global wildlife trafficking crisis and stop stimulating demand for ivory by continuing to trade. I hope Canada will join the countries that are standing up for elephants and the rangers who put their lives on the line trying to protect them.”
Several US states, France, China, Philippines and the United Kingdom have banned the sale of ivory within their borders. The Netherlands will close their raw ivory market in 2019; Taiwan will ban its ivory trade by 2020; Hong Kong will follow in 2021; and Singapore is considering the most stringent ban to date.
With the upcoming CITES conference in Sri Lanka in May, Canada has an opportunity to join other countries leading the fight to save elephants from extinction by enacting a legislative ban on the sale of elephant ivory within Canada.
“It’s time for Canadians to take a stand against the elephant ivory trade by banning the domestic trade in Canada,” says Patricia Sims, founder of World Elephant Day.“Canada needs to join the other countries that have already enacted domestic elephant ivory bans and to put political pressure on government at all levels for legislation to stop this senseless buying and selling of elephant ivory within our borders.”
In order to continue to pressure the government into action, Elephanatics and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos – Toronto, are launching an online campaign that will allow members of the public to automatically send an email to their Members of Parliament. With over 310,000signatures, it is clear that the public no longer supports Canada’s current position on ivory legislation.