How to stop the ivory trade: with Space for Giants, Tusk Trust and Parcs Gabon - Live coverage - The Independent

How to stop the ivory trade: with Space for Giants, Tusk Trust and Parcs Gabon

50 heads of state will gather in London tomorrow, to tackle the $19bn-a year illegal wildlife trade in products such as ivory and rhino horn. With 100 elephants dying every day, the ivory trade has reached a crisis point. Ahead of this conference, leaders and conservationists, hosted by The Independent and Space for Giants are meeting at the House of Lords to discuss the supply, demand and stockpiling of ivory. Diplomats and ministers from Gabon to Thailand are putting their heads together with conservationists from Space for Giants, Tusk Trust, Parcs Gabon and others. Watch this space from 7 pm for rolling coverage of the night’s events.

  • 50 heads of state will gather in London tomorrow, to tackle the $19bn-a year illegal wildlife trade in products such as ivory and rhino horn. With 100 elephants dying every day, the ivory trade has reached a crisis point. Ahead of this conference, leaders and conservationists, hosted by The Independent and Space for Giants are meeting at the House of Lords to discuss the supply, demand and stockpiling of ivory. Diplomats and ministers from Gabon to Thailand are putting their heads together with conservationists from Space for Giants, Tusk Trust, Parcs Gabon and others. Watch this space from 7 pm for rolling coverage of the night’s events.
    2/11/2014 3:55:03 PM
  • We're live. Guests are filing in at the Attlee room in the House of Lords. President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe couldn't attend tonight but sent us his thoughts on the ivory trade earlier today. He said:
    "My country, Togo has been directly affected by poaching. Today, we have only 115 elephants remaining in our national parks. While we can be proud that not one of them was killed in 2013, our efforts have not stopped our country being a transit channel for illegal wildlife trade.

    In the last fortnight, Togo’s security forces seized four tonnes of elephant tusks, en route to Vietnam. This haul amounted to what remained of 500 slaughtered elephants...

    It is my sincere hope that both our countries, and indeed all countries, can work together to find practical solutions to curb and arrest the current trend before it is too late..."

    You can read his full statement here - www.independent.co.uk
    2/11/2014 7:13:36 PM
  • 2/11/2014 7:17:01 PM
  • Coming soon, speeches from Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Charlie Mayhew and Dr Max Graham.
    2/11/2014 7:24:15 PM
  • While we're waiting, here's some shocking facts about Africa's elephants

    2/11/2014 7:29:31 PM
  • Sir Tim Clement-Jones is welcoming his guests - and he's wearing a great animal tie. He says: "The very fact that the princes are holding such a conference demonstrates the commitment not only of the princes, but also of the UK as a whole."
    2/11/2014 7:44:25 PM
  • Charlie Mayhew, from the Tusk Trust is co-hosting the event with Space for Giants.

    "This week we have got a real sense of momentum and collaboration as the world has come to realise the crisis underway - not only for elephants and rhino, but for various species.

    "This week we have to see some real decisions and some real actions from the global community to halt this wildlife crime"
    2/11/2014 7:45:39 PM
  • Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants: "The opportunity here tonight is not so much to talk about the problems, but to talk about the solutions."

    He's got lion and elephant noises that will play throughout the night!
    2/11/2014 7:50:25 PM
  • Professor Lee White, The National Park Agency in Gabon: "The latest scientific results show that Gabon has 68% of the forest elephants. The future of forest elephants rests in our country...

    Yet, Gabon has lost 75% of its forest elephants in the last 10 years. We are in a continental crisis."

    Forest elephants could become ecologically extinct.
    2/11/2014 7:55:18 PM
  • Forest elephants can smell you from 500 km away!

    2/11/2014 7:59:50 PM
  • You can read more about forest elephants here.
    2/11/2014 8:04:13 PM
  • Dr Paula Kahumbu is up next. Follow her @PaulaKahumbu - she says when she met Richard Leakey at the age of 4 - he said she was the youngest ever poacher that he reformed. Paula says she and her brother used to play with catapults around animals!

    She says "I realise now, as a Kenyan, how extraordinarily privileged we are - as Africans - that we can go out and spend time with these magnificent animals."
    2/11/2014 8:07:23 PM
  • Dr Kahumbu is telling us about when killing an elephant in Kenya was just a 'petty offence.' Her campaigning, along with others' led to tougher penalties against poaching in Kenya. Now, the Chief Justice has given his full support to ending the ivory trade. As a result, Kenya passed a new law, and recently led to the conviction of a Chinese smuggler.
    2/11/2014 8:15:05 PM
  • Henry Okello, Foreign Minister of Uganda has just sent us his statement of support: "As the Foreign Minister of Uganda, a country that is home to thousands of the world’s remaining elephants that roam free - as well as other highly endangered species such as the mountain gorilla – of which just over 800 exist in the wild, we have a crucial role to play in tackling the ivory trade and in the wider discussions taking place in London.

    Yet while emphasis is increasingly placed on halting demand from Asia, too little focus is being placed on the nations of Africa, as the biggest number of range states, and our responsibility to halt supply. In recent years this has not been successful – and serious change is needed in laws, policing, educating and providing alternatives to the livelihoods that poaching, however immoral, provides."
    2/11/2014 8:22:17 PM
  • The conversation has moved on to the prickly subject of 'human-elephant conflict.' Elephants are clumsy giants who can trample crops and be a nuisance to farmers. As a result, local communities treat them as pests. But Patrick Omondi is telling us that community-based conservation - like Space for Giants' projects in Kenya - are a possible solution. You can read more about this debate here.
    2/11/2014 8:33:24 PM
  • "Community-based benefits are a key tool in our arsenal of dealing with ivory poaching." - Max Graham, CEO Space for Giants
    2/11/2014 8:36:24 PM
  • Professor Bill Adams from Cambridge University talks about community involvement. in the UK we think elephants are very special, very human and cuddly. They are nice! But if you live in rural Africa where elephants are part of the scenery, they are a 5 tonne bulldozer that ploughs through your field and they are difficult to live with!
    2/11/2014 8:39:08 PM
  • You have a conflict between the poverty of people who live with elephants and the wealth of people who want to protect them. To local people elephants are big and ugly and to us in the West they are cute and lovely.

    So elephants need to locked into a livelihoods system and poverty needs to be addressed. There has to be a flow of good things - elephants have to pay their way!
    2/11/2014 8:41:23 PM

  • We protect sky larks in this country because we like them. So we pay farmers to protect them. And we need something similar to protect elephants in Africa says Bill Adams.
    2/11/2014 8:43:45 PM
  • 'People in the UK think that elephants live in an African wilderness, but it's not true. Africa is full of people and they all have to share the habitat. ' Bill Adams
    2/11/2014 8:47:12 PM
  • "2011 was the worst year for seizures for 25 years"

    2/11/2014 8:59:10 PM
  • 2/11/2014 9:01:26 PM
  • Terrorist activity is a crucial part of the story. Evidence of al-Shabaab and the LRA's links to the ivory trade have been uncovered by various NGOs. Poaching is not just a wildlife crime, but also a threat to national security. Read more here.
    2/11/2014 9:08:29 PM
  • Where Africa's elephants roam - by the Independent's graphics team

    2/11/2014 9:16:43 PM
  • "We are saying no to poaching; we are saying no to this trade" - Minister Nyalandu from Tanzania
    2/11/2014 9:19:54 PM
  • 400,000 elephants to protect on the continent. The cost to stabilise this population each year would be £14 million each year.
    2/11/2014 9:22:44 PM
  • Peter Knights, WildAid: "Poaching problems are largely demand-driven. If we just address the supply side of the ivory trade, we are just putting band-aids on the symptoms.

    "The ban in 1989 worked overnight because people heard about the ivory crisis. Poaching came back because economies interested in this product were rising."

    "At the time, Taiwan was a major market. In 18 months, there was a complete transition in attitudes in Taiwan. Every day, there were newspaper stories about rhino horn in Taiwan - and the demand in Taiwan has now gone."
    2/11/2014 9:24:06 PM
  • Peter Knights says education campaigns in China are working. He said: "I go to china every 6 week. Every 6 weeks I see a change"
    2/11/2014 9:27:53 PM
  • "We have to fundamentally undermine the demand.. we can solve this problem the same way we did in 1989." - Peter Knight
    2/11/2014 9:31:45 PM
  • "Asia could be a positive force in conservation - and not be the bad guys" - Peter Knight
    2/11/2014 9:33:24 PM
  • 2/11/2014 9:36:06 PM
  • Stunning photography by David Gulden, whose prints we auctioned earlier in the elephant appeal

    2/11/2014 9:40:52 PM
  • Mahmat Issa Halikini, Environment Minister of Chad, "Chad has lived through some very difficult times. The war in the country has decimated elephant populations. The country has been stable for several years and one of our first actions was to implement a conservation strategy, and particularly for elephants."
    2/11/2014 9:43:12 PM
  • The disappearance of elephants from parks such as Zakuma is an indication of the state of elephants in the country.
    But the minister is determined to prove his country's commitment. He says "Chad was one of the first nations to burn its ivory stocks in March 2007."
    2/11/2014 9:46:01 PM
  • Chad's government has set aside a fund for people who are victims of human-elephant conflict. Though Chad doesn't have huge means, Mahmat Hakimi says the country has made this a priority.
    2/11/2014 9:49:24 PM
  • BREAKING: The Minister of Environment, Mahamat Issa Halikini announced that Chad will destroy its entire stockpile on 20 February. He said: "Ivory is a criminal product."

    He also spoke about how elephant poaching is a trans-border issue. "Most of the elephants come from far away - in fact very far away."

    Chad has signed an agreement with bordering nations for regional co operation and a co-ordinated strategy on elephant
    2/11/2014 9:52:26 PM
  • Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency "The bulk of ivory in the market comes from illegal sources...Its a fact"
    2/11/2014 9:59:13 PM
  • Minister Hakimi of Chad's announcement comes after France, Hong Kong, China, USA, Philippines have destroyed or announced they will destroy their stockpiles. Read more

    Hong Kong to destroy 28 tonnes of ivory

    The IndependentHong Kong will destroy 28 tonnes of its stockpiled ivory, the Endangered Species Advisory Committee (ESAC) announced today. This decision comes after Guangzhou, China destroyed six tonnes of ivory earlier this year.
    ">here.
    2/11/2014 10:01:47 PM
  • Mary Rice: From our perspective, a ban is the only answer. Mary Rice has spoken out many times about the issue of continuing parallel legal markets.
    2/11/2014 10:02:45 PM
  • Alex Rhodes, from Stop Ivory "Those countries which have elephants, are the countries which bear the greatest burden."
    2/11/2014 10:06:54 PM
  • Letty Belin: "Just over 3 hours ago, the USA announced that we are going to enforce a complete ban in the ivory trade."
    2/11/2014 10:12:51 PM
  • The night is coming to a close. Max Graham is wrapping up: we discussed supply, demand and stockpiles.
    2/11/2014 10:15:04 PM
  • That's all for now. Keep following our elephant appeal with Space for Giants on our appeal page for more updates in the run up to the ivory conference.
    2/11/2014 10:17:34 PM
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