07 May 2019 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 07 MAY (NAMPA) President Hage Geingob has expressed concern over the cost and security implications of holding large ivory stocks as it continues to accumulate due to the moratorium on international trade since 2008.
Geingob voiced his concern at the five-day Kasane Elephant Summit held in Botswana on Tuesday, saying stock continues to accumulate by 4.5 per cent annually.
The president said holding large ivory stocks reiterates Namibias favourable stance towards legal international trade of ivory, from which proceeds could be utilised to support elephant conservation and rural conservation programmes.
Namibia has fully complied with requirements from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and contributed to the development of a rigorous trade control system, he said in his statement availed to Nampa.
Geingob noted that as a result, Namibia successfully exported raw ivory between 1999 and 2008, proving that with adequate controls and strict enforcement measures, ivory can be traded legally.
He emphasised that Namibia has taken note of the ongoing debate and criticism on elephant population management and status for Botswana, and therefore affirms its support to the new policies and programmes on elephant population management and sustainable use developed by the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Agreement (KAZA TFCA) project.
Namibias conservation model has enabled expansion of the elephant population from just over 7 500 in 1995 to 24 000 at present, he added.
The president noted that the biggest potential threat to the Namibian elephant population is the loss of habitat due to cyclical periods of drought and the fragmentation of range and rising incidences of human-elephant conflict.
He added that Namibia is aware that the challenges are not unique to it as they exist within all member states of KAZA TFCA.
Changing times call for appropriate management strategies to be development in order to maintain the historic coexistence between our people and elephants, he said.
He added that Namibia supports the realisation of a shared approach towards elephant conservation via the KAZA agreement by remaining committed towards a common vision for the management of southern Africas elephants.