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Opposition against ivory trading sought

Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:44 PM

LONDON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Britain should strongly oppose attempts by two African countries to lift the worldwide ban on the ivory trade, conservationists say.

Environmental campaigners said with Tanzania and Zambia each proposing ivory sales despite the worldwide ban, Britain should join countries such as Kenya and Mali by taking a definitive stance against such sales, The Independent reported Monday.

The ivory trade ban was put into place to protect Africa's elephant population during the 1980s. Conservationists said despite the ban, poaching remains a significant problem in Africa.

"The present level of poaching as a result of the illegal ivory trade is already devastating and wiping out elephant populations across Africa," Environmental Investigation Agency head Allan Thornton said. "If this new sale went ahead it would be throwing fuel on the fire."

The Independent said the proposals from Tanzania and Zambia will face a vote at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species taking place in March in Qatar.

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