Sunday Express - AN IVORY ban being pushed through Parliament this week by the Government will not be enough to stop elephants becoming extinct in our lifetime, the founder of a wildlife charity has warned. Dane Waters, who has worked for five Presidential campaigns including for the late Senator John McCain, has founded the Elephant Project which creates sanctuaries across the world for endangered animals.
PUBLISHED: Sun, Oct 21, 2018
He claims that 100 elephants are being killed every day for their ivory and the number of deaths has for the first time outpaced the number of baby elephants being born.
While there were 5 million African elephants at the turn of the 20th century and 100,000 Asian elephants, their numbers are now believed to be just 450,000 African elephants and 30,000 Asian elephants.
Speaking to the Sunday Express, Mr Waters praised the UK Ivory Trade Bill, which comes to its report stage in the Lords this week, but he warned that the British ministers need to persuade the Trump administration in the US and the Chinese to change their policies.
Mr Waters, who as a close friend of the late Senator McCain’s has already had rows with President Trump, hit out at the administration’s decision to allow the import of ivory and other elephant trophies and encourage US citizens to go big game hunting in Africa.
He said: “The decision by President Trump to allow for the import of elephant trophies into the United States will increase the senseless killing by big game hunters of this threatened and vulnerable keystone species.
“It also signals to China that the US is abdicating its long-standing commitment to lead the world in elephant protection and conservation.
“This sends a message to China that they are free to not enforce their ban as well as takes pressure off the European Union to act to enact laws to end domestic ivory markets.”
He went on: “Additionally, the Department of Interior under President Trump established the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC).
“The mandate of this Council, whose majority is comprised of trophy hunters or groups that advocate for the hunting of elephants, is to increase awareness of the ‘economic benefits that result from US citizens travelling abroad to hunt.’
“One of the members co-owns a hunting preserve with Trump’s son Don Jr – who is an avid big game hunter and killer of elephants.”
He said that the ivory ban is a “good thing” but “only if it is enforced”.
And he noted that while there is a ban in China it is still the leading black market for ivory goods in the world.
He said: “Enforcement is critical and countries like the US and UK must lead.
“The US has abdicated that role and leadership and so now the UK has the chance to be the world's leader both from a moral and practical standpoint.
“It is also a good way for the UK to thumb their nose to the EU since they are behind in tackling this issue.”
The ivory ban in Britain is meant to be the toughest in the world.
A limited number of items are due to be given exemptions from the ban.
These include items comprised less than 10 per cent ivory by volume and made before 1947, musical instruments made before 1975 and comprised of less than 20 per cent ivory, rare or important items, at least 100 years old, and portrait miniatures painted on thin ivory bases and for commercial activity between accredited museums.
When he launched the bill, environment secretary Michael Gove used it as an example of how Britain would lead the way with tougher animal welfare regulations and laws after Brexit.
He added that the new law would "reaffirm the UK's global leadership on this critical issue, demonstrating our belief that the abhorrent ivory trade should become a thing of the past".
He said: "Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol."