Mark Hunter MP pledges to protect endangered elephants from the ivory trade

June 6, 2008 6:20 PM

Mark is campaigning to stop the deadly ivory trade

Mark Hunter, MP for the Cheadle Constituency is taking a stand to protect thousands of endangered elephants from the brutal ivory trade. In July, a decision may be made by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Standing Committee to allow China to buy ivory from government stockpiles in southern Africa - a move that could spell disaster for elephants.

Mr Hunter is supporting the International Fund for Animal Welfare's ivory trade campaign calling on the government to bring together EU partners to oppose China as an ivory buyer. Mr Hunter has already written to the Minister to and has signed a parliamentary motion on this matter.

Ivory trade has been banned since 1989, however, every year approximately 20,000 elephants are killed to supply the illegal ivory trade - and this is on the increase. China is the single major destination for this illegal ivory, and has the world's largest black market for ivory.

Mr Hunter says, "It is imperative for the continued existence of an already endangered species that CITES does not allow China the right to import and export ivory. There is already too much opportunity to sidestep regulations, and allowing China to trade in ivory would provide further incentive to poachers to slaughter elephants for their tusks.

"These majestic creatures are being killed by poachers by the tens of thousands each year for the cruel and unsustainable trade in ivory. I believe elephants belong in the wild and should be protected in their natural habitat for future generations. We must stamp out ivory trade before it is too late.

"This is an unacceptable situation and one which requires stricter, not more open, control. I was therefore keen to sign EDM 1401, urging the Government, as a member of the CITES Standing Committee, to reject China's request."

This is a cause which is widely supported by environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Born Free, as well as IFAW, who, alongside Mr Hunter all call for a complete ban on the ivory trade.

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