Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Stop trading in ivory

20 January 2015

Categories: Homepage News, Elephants Campaign News, Wildlife Trade News

Wildlife NGOs Open Letter to French Government calling for an end to the trade in raw ivory.

Elephant populations across Africa are being devastated by poaching. The poachers are killing 30,000 or more elephants every year. This massacre is driven by demand for ivory, principally in China and other parts if Asia.

Incredibly, in the face of this crisis raw ivory from parts of Europe is still being exported to China, fuelling the demand. Some 118 tusks were sold through French auction houses predominantly to Chinese buyers in the last quarter of 2014 alone.

The Born Free Foundation is doing all it can to shut down the ivory trade, in order to protect Africa's remaining elephants. Some European countries including the UK, Germany and Sweden have restricted or banned the export of raw ivory. Born Free has joined a coalition of 37 organisations in urging France, and indeed all European countries, to take similar measures.

If we want to secure the future of Africa's iconic elephants, we need to shut down the ivory trade. Bringing the trade from Europe to an end will be an important step in this process.



January 20, 2015.

Madam the Minister of Ecology,
of Sustainable Development and Energy
246, boulevard Saint-Germain
75007 Paris

Copy :

Special Envoy for the Protection of the Planet
Presidency of the Republic

Subject : Elephant Ivory trade in France

Madam Minister,

Trade in elephant ivory is developing within the European Union and specifically in France. Over the last 3 months of 2014, at least 118 entire tusks have been auctioned on the French territory1. According to the CITES trade database, in 2013 France delivered export certificates for 116 tusks from African elephants, a record number, never before reached since 1990 and the listing of African elephants to CITES Appendix I. The main importer country of these tusks is China where a recent study confirms a market boom and where illegal retail shops are many more than the legal ones2.

In letting raw ivory trade develop on its territory and by supplying international trade, France renders itself an accomplice to the elephant’s disappearing. Failures in checks and controls of this market enable to feed the “legal” circuits with ivory from poached elephants.

Some countries have already taken action. United Kingdom and Sweden no longer deliver certificates allowing trade and export of raw ivory. Germany has introduced export ban of such ivory. The United States of America have taken measures to limit the internal ivory market, including that of carved ivory; and the general principle in the country is that of a ban of exports of raw ivory.

The 37 organizations presently signing request instantly you take immediate measures in order to ban in France all trade and export of raw or cut ivory3.

Also, within the framework of the European Committee on trade in wild fauna and flora, France has been invited to formulate propositions before the 31 January 2015 regarding European trade and reexportation of ivory. We therefore wish Madam Minister that you or your services take this occasion to call on all European countries to enact such measures indispensable for the protection of the elephants.

We thank you for the attention you will give to this request,

Sincerely yours,

Charlotte Nithart, Robin des Bois and on behalf of:

Amboseli Trust for Elephant, Dr. Cynthia Moss, Kenya, Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, United Kingdom, ASPAS (Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages), Marc Giraud, France, Animal Welfare Institute, DJ Schubert, USA, Awely, Des animaux et des hommes, Renaud Fulconis, France, Born Free Foundation, Adam Roberts, United Kingdom, Born Free USA, Adam Roberts, USA, Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness (ECCEA), Lesley Sutty, Martinique, Ecologie sans frontière, Franck Laval, France, EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency), Mary Rice, United Kingdom, ElephantVoices, Dr. Joyce Poole and Petter Granli, Norway / USA, Fondation Brigitte Bardot, Christophe Marie, France, Fondation Franz Weber, Vera Weber, Switzerland, Gallmann Memorial Foundation, Kenya, Hong Kong for Elephants, Alex Hofford, Hong Kong, Humane Society International, Teresa Telecky, USA, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, France, International Animal Rescue, Max Farrugia, Malta, L214, Brigitte Gothiere, France, Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, France, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Katherine Stansfield, Malawi, Mille Traces, Jean-Marie Ouary, France, OSCAP (Outraged South African Citizens Against Rhino Poaching), Allison Thomson, South Africa, Pan African Wildlife Conservation Network, Pat Awori, Kenya, Performing Animal Welfare Society, Ed Stewart, USA, Planète Tigre, Frédéric Geffroy, France, Prowildlife, Daniela Freyer, Germany, Save The Elephants, Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, United Kingdom / Kenya, Shark Research Institute, Princeton, New Jersey USA, Sharkprotect e.V., Jupp Kerckerinck, Germany, SNPN (Société Nationale de Protection de la Nature), Jean Untermaier, France, SSN (Species Survival Network), Will Travers, WildAid, Peter Knights, USA, Wildlife Friends International, Edwin Wiek, Nederland, Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, Edwin Wiek, Thailand, 30 Millions d’Amis, Jean-François Legueulle, France.

1 Surveillance carried out from October 1 to December 31, 2014 in 9 French cities– Robin des Bois jan.2015.
3According to the definition of raw and cut ivory as presented in the French Circulaire DNP/CFF n° 98-84 dated 30 June 1998."

Born Free Foundation
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