Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Should Ban Trade in Elephant Ivory, Says Animal Rights Group

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Should Ban Trade in Elephant Ivory, Says Animal Rights Group

Article excerpt

Thousands of Cdns want ban on ivory trade


OTTAWA - More than 125,000 people have signed a petition asking Canada to put a stop to the sale of all elephant ivory.

Tessa Vanderkop, director of strategic relations and advocacy for Vancouver-based Elephanatics, says when the petition was launched last year the hope was to get 1,000 signatures.

"Our next target was 5,000 and then it just went nuts," she said. "I think it says that people just do not have any kind of tolerance for this kind of thing anymore and they want governments to do the right thing."

Last week, 95 politicians and animal rights activists from Canada and around the world signed a letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna repeating the petition's request to ban all domestic trade in elephant ivory and to also make it illegal to import, export and re-export elephant ivory.

Among the signatories to the letter are a handful of politicians and animal rights groups, including Wildlife SOS India, which runs the elephant sanctuary Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family visited during their recent trip to India. Vanderkop says she does not think the ivory issue was raised with Trudeau during that visit and the operators could not be reached for comment Friday.

Currently the ban on elephant ivory in Canada affects only that from elephants killed since 1990, but Vanderkop says it is so difficult to date ivory that it is easy for people to hide more recent ivory among legal products.

"We have to close the trade period," she says.

Canada was one of only four countries at the most recent conference of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that objected to banning the ivory trade domestically. Japan, Namibia and South Africa also objected. Canada's objection came at least in part because of concerns about the Inuit trade in legal narwhal and walrus ivory.

However Vanderkop says Elephanatics isn't asking for all ivory trade to be banned, just elephant ivory, which she says can be distinguished from other types.

Internationally, elephants are among the rapidly declining species in the world, in large part because international ivory prices were high. …

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