Momentous Day for Ethiopia
Today, in a momentous event in Gulele Botanical Garden, Ethiopia joined the many countries in various regions of the world which have recently destroyed all or part of their ivory stockpiles. Ethiopia's funeral-like pyre of ivory will raise awareness of the continent-wide elephant poaching crisis and send a clear message to the world that the poaching of elephants and trade in ivory will not be tolerated!
Dr Zelealem Tefera Ashenafi, Born Free Foundation Ethiopia’s recently-appointed Country Representative, remarked that “the ivory burning today by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, together with conservation partners, is a landmark and vital step forward for wildlife conservation in Ethiopia. Let’s hope it raises the momentum and seriousness of wildlife conservation in the country.”
Speeches at the burn site included reference to the 2014 London Conference on Wildlife Trafficking and the British Ambassador highlighted the launch of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) by the Governments of Ethiopia, Chad, Botswana, Tanzania and Gabon just over a year ago. This Initiative included an agreement to suspend all consideration of future international ivory trade for a minimum of 10 years and thereafter until African elephant populations are no longer threatened. Those signing up to the EPI, including the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister on behalf of Ethiopia, also agreed to put all stockpiles beyond economic use, which Ethiopia has honoured today.
”The Government of Ethiopia has long-welcomed Born Free Foundation’s work in wildlife rescue and wild animal conservation and we are pleased to have a significant and successful partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Authority there,” noted Adam M. Roberts, CEO of the Born Free Foundation. “Born Free staff have witnessed ivory destruction in America, Kenya, Paris, and now Ethiopia, and with each of these actions ivory is permanently removed from the marketplace and elephant poachers and ivory profiteers are pushed into a new line of work. We congratulate the Government of Ethiopia on this historic action.”
The ceremony was well attended. Present were a number of government ministers and state officials, diplomats and conservation organizations with the Deputy Prime Minister as the guest of honour.