Poaching: Ivory and Supra Note

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The War Against Poaching in Africa: Learning from our mistakes

Tricia Patel International Environmental Law Professor Burleson Fall 2010

 

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Table of Contents I. Introduction..........................................................................................................................3 II. The history of CITES...........................................................................................................4 a. The faltering status of elephant populations and regulations imposed by CITES...8 b. Dwindling rhino populations and regulations under CITES..................................15 III. Subsistence poaching versus commercial poaching: Is there a difference?.....................17 a. Subsistence poaching and the bushmeat trade.......................................................18 b. Commercial poachers.............................................................................................21 IV. Conservation methods........................................................................................................23 a. The realities of community-based conservation?..................................................24 b. Dispelling the myths of community-based conservation: The Grumeti Fund as an example of success.................................................................................................26 c. Anti-poaching strategies against commercial poachers.........................................29 d. Desperate times call for desperate measures: the international controversy surrounding Operation Stronghold........................................................................30 e. Current anti-poaching strategies: What is being done now?.................................32 V. Conclusion.........................................................................................................................34 VI. Recommendations..............................................................................................................38

 

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The war against poaching in Africa: Learning from our mistakes I. Introduction The African elephant and rhino have long struggled to maintain their populations, which saw a devastating decline during the 1980s.1 With commercial poaching running rampant, the eye of the international community fell upon the lack of conservation policies implemented in African nations. Elephants and rhinos became icons of the conservation movement and more significantly, the keystones of Africa’s wildlife safari industry. As a result of declining populations, trade in both animals was regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).2 Despite the value they have to conservationists in the West, the reality is very different for those living next door to these animal populations.3 Southern African countries have fought hard against a total ban on trade in ivory, for it has the potential to generate much-needed revenue and fund conservation programs.4 Opponents fear resurgence in commercial poaching for ivory and vehemently resist any relaxation of the ivory ban and their concerns are well founded.5 Where elephant populations have stabilized, the black rhino has not been so lucky.6 As a result, non-governmental organizations have tried to implement conservation programs to combat tourism. However, a distinction is rarely made between subsistence poachers who hunt for food and commercial poachers who hunt for economic gain.7 Additionally, local

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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See infra note 46 and note 100. What is CITES?, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, available at...
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