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Ivory trade in the EU! It is time for a ban!

As the international conference on trade in endangered species just ended, let’s recall one of its most prominent issues – the efforts to prevent elephants from becoming extinct – and what the European Union and its Member States are expected to do next.

Elephants are facing their worst crisis in decades due to poaching for their ivory. Populations are thought to be falling by about 8 percent annually and at least 20,000 African elephants continue to be killed each year.

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Wildlife trade – a global wake-up call

The world’s wild animals are in serious decline. Humanity has wiped out 60% of wild animal populations since 1970. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s ‘Red List’ classifies a quarter of all mammals, a third of sharks, rays and corals, and 40% of amphibians, as threatened with extinction. Many more species may be falling under the radar.

The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published recently by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), estimated that a million species may be at risk of extinction, identified economic exploitation among the key drivers of biodiversity loss, emphasised that ‘transformative changes’ are required to restore and protect nature, and indicated the need for opposition from vested interests to be overcome. These are strong words from an intergovernmental body, and they come not a moment too soon.

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