-ZBC News Online
AN estimated half a billion United States dollars remains locked as the nation sits on an ivory stockpile of one hundred and thirty tonnes, amid growing concern of a ballooning elephant population in Zimbabwe.
The country’s wildlife management capacity is severely under pressure from a ballooning elephant population now estimated to be running into a hundred thousand.
According to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, revenue to support conservation programmes is depleting despite the country sitting on an ivory stockpile that can generate half a billion United states dollars.
“We have 130 tonnes of ivory locked up while there are also two thousand rhino horns that we cannot sale because of the ban effected through Cites. Our revenues are severely affected and this obviously will impact on our abilities to conduct conservation programmes,”
Dr Fulton Mangwanya, Director General Zimparks
The unforeseen consequences of Covid-19 and a moratorium imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is compounding the situation has been labelled an ivory conundrum by experts.
“We really find ourselves between a rock and a hard surface. It makes it very difficult for us to effect sustainable management of our habitat. There is no reason why we should not be allowed to sale. Population continues to grow while there is a ban that can all low us to generate the revenues needed for proper management,”
said Dr Morris Mutsambiwa a Wildlife Management Expert
Disappointing though is the fact that as the nation continues to raise serious concern over the reality of a growing wildlife population, CITES remains firm on its decision to maintain a ban on Zimbabwe’s ivory sales.
“Surely there must be consideration on that imposition considering the progress that Zimbabwe has made to conserve its elephant population. We are the second nation in the world to host such a huge population and the dent of the moratorium is quite huge. You look at that decision it is not scientific and is totally divorced from the reality of what we are witnessing on the ground,”
said Dr Emmanuel Fundira, the Safari Association of Zimbabwe President.
Under the current systems, Zimbabwe is only allowed access to 500 animals according to a quota set by the CITES but experts believe the figure is insignificant considering pressing issues, including human-wildlife conflict and pressure on habitat which require more funding.