The Capitalism of Extinction

12 Mar 2013

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
CITES 2013 – Bangkok, 6 pm (local time)
Press Release No. 7

Making money from the extinction of species could become an industry of the future. It has certainly been developed by CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Looking at the re-opening of international ivory trade, CITES has published à call of tender for an “independent study”. It has been attributed to specialized consultants from southern Africa. Among the 5 authors, Rowan Martin, director of research on wild fauna in Zimbawe, and Debbie A. Peake, one of the best taxidermists of Botswana, are also present. The main recommendation of the study co-financed by the European Union is to create CISO (Central Ivory Selling Organization), a single office for ivory sales. CISO would be modeled after the Diamond Trading Company (DTC), this De Beers Company has lasted over 100 years. One director, named by the main producing states, regulates trade to recognized and accredited governments or private processing companies. Short routes reduce the risks of mixing in illegal ivory. Inter-African sales would be prohibited. The report proposes that it would be possible to collect 8 tons of ivory each year for every 10,000 elephants killed by slaughter, hunting, or natural causes. The authors highlight that this management of ivory would be possible only in the absence of civil disorder and arms conflicts in producing countries. Within the report, ivory is an ore distanced from all biological, ethical and cultural considerations.

Opportunely, a week before the conference at Bangkok, a rhinoceros variation appeared in a prestigious scientific journal, Science. Four eminent biologists, among them Rowan Martin once again, a french director of research at CNRS and member of the Scientific Council of the WWF Paris, and two other acclaimed scientifics and WWF advisers from South Africa and Australia, study the rhinoceros horn case. According them the market price is about $65,000/kg in 2012. In no time at all, they built a duplicate of the CISO : the CSO (Central Selling Organization) charged with commercializing rhinoceros horns throughout the world. Like CISO, financed by an ivory tax, the CSO would be financed by a horn tax. The CSO is a consistent copy of the CISO, with the same motto from CITES and their partners: IUCN, Traffic, and the WWF. “There is no concrete or conclusive proof that the legal sales of ivory increased the poaching of elephants in Africa.” Therefore, it is possible to organize legal sales of rhinoceros horns. At the same time they proclaim that the success of the rhinoceros cartel depends on its ability and that of producing countries to eliminate smuggling.

Since the partial reopening of the international ivory trade between southern Africa and Japan and especially China, the price of ivory soared along with the number of pan-African elephants and wildlife guards killed.

Levels of poaching of elephants and, by ripple effect, rhinoceroses, are reaching unprecedented levels. The fire spread across a whole range of countries before reaching Mali, where, for the past 3 years, Gourma elephants have also become victims of political unrest.

Facing the risk of the extinction of African elephants, the CITES meeting in Bangkok decided to continue reflecting on the mechanisms that could possibly lead to the revival of business. Business as usual while the

CITES should use all its means to oppose to poaching and fully suspend the legal international trade in this critical situation.




Imprimer cet article Imprimer cet article