The Tanzanian government has abandoned its plan to sell 112 tonnes of elephant tusks with President Jakaya Kikwete instead calling for international assistance in stopping the illegal ivory trade, Tanzania's Daily News reported Friday (February 14th).
Since October 2012, Tanzania has repeatedly and unsuccessfully argued to be allowed to bypass the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) on the grounds that selling the stockpile of impounded tusks would reduce global demand for the ivory and the money generated could then be used to further conservation efforts.
However, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu confirmed that plans to sell the ivory had been dropped, saying the country will now initiate a debate about what to do with the stockpiles and how to protect its elephant population from extinction.
Speaking during the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Kikwete called on the international community to assist in stemming the illegal trade and help to protect endangered animals.
"If this [international assistance] is done, elephants and rhinos will be safe. There will be no demand for ivory and horns and thus no enticement to kill and elephant or rhino," he said.