Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a “conflicting phenomena”. In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa’s elephant population has continued to drop “due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion.” Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of “large-scale ivory seizures”, the group said. “The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is now nearly three times greater than what was observed in 2007”, CITES added in a statement. That could be a result of increasing vigilance among border guards and “scaled up enforcement”, said CITES secretary general John Scanlon. But Scanlon also speculated that the prospect of tougher enforcement along with the widening trend of countries moving to ban ivory may have had a ripple effect across the black market. “International syndicates behind this poaching and smuggling may be involved in a… Read full this story
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