“Canada is at a crossroads and the actions we take now to protect African elephants will be remembered for generations to come.”
A slew of celebrities, artists and scientists are urging the Canadian government to ban the elephant ivory trade.
According to scientists, the African elephant population, which is currently listed as critically endangered/endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has declined by 96% in the past century.
Moreover, they add that these species are on the brink of extinction within the next few decades if measures to disincentivize poachers are not undertaken.
The government has therefore received a letter demanding ‘urgent action’ on the domestic ivory markets. The letter has been signed by 17 notable Canadian artists. These include Bryan Adams, William Shatner, Cristina Mittermeier, Georges Laraque, Paul Nicklen, and Robert Bateman.
It follows a public consultation launched by the government to hear feedback on proposed measures to restrict or end the elephant ivory trade.
Apart from the elephant ivory trade, Canada also allows the import of elephant tusks and parts from trophy hunts.
Around 300 African elephant tusks—representing 150 elephants—were legally imported into Canada from 2010-2018.
‘Stop human-induced extinctions’
The letter reads: “Canada recently backed the G7 2030 Nature Compact to stop and reverse biodiversity loss, specifically pledging to ‘meet targets to increase the abundance of species populations worldwide, significantly reduce overall species extinction risk and eventually stop human-induced extinctions’.
“Allowing elephant ivory trade, including the import of elephant ivory from cruel trophy hunts, not only creates channels for laundering illegal elephant ivory but also perpetuates the demise of African elephants and biodiversity. Canada now has an opportunity and a responsibility to follow through on its G7 commitments.”
94% Canadians support elephant ivory trade ban
According to a 2020 report by market research and polling company Insights West, 94% of Canadians support an elephant ivory trade ban.
Additionally, a public petition circling online calling for a Canadian ban on the cruel trade has amassed over 600,000 signatures.
Moreover, Canada’s top trading partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom have already shut down their elephant ivory markets in response to declining elephant populations.
Tessa Vanderkop, vice president of elephant advocacy organization Elephanatics, said: “Tens of thousands of African elephants are killed every year to fill the global demand for elephant ivory.
“The world community is taking action, and more than 620,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Canadian government to ban elephant ivory trade as a matter of urgency.
“We encourage all Canadians to take part in the consultation and make their voices heard for African elephants.”
Renowned Canadian artist and conservationist, Robert Bateman added: “The survival of African elephants hinges on the actions of the global community, and progressive nations like Canada have a responsibility to act accordingly.
“I am joining countless Canadians in calling on the Canadian government to act now and ban elephant ivory trade. I commend the government for launching a public consultation and encourage all concerned Canadians to take this critically important opportunity to speak up.”
Canada needs a ‘robust national ban’
Michael Bernard, deputy director of Animal advocacy organisation Humane Society International/Canada, stated: “Canada is at a crossroads and the actions we take now to protect African elephants will be remembered for generations to come.
“ In keeping with its commitments to preserve global biodiversity and end human-induced extinctions, the Canadian government has launched a crucial public consultation.
“We urge all Canadians to participate and make clear that only a robust national ban on elephant ivory trade can truly help us end the senseless killing of African elephants.”
If you want to support, you can find the consultation and how to participate here.
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