Wildlife-trade regulators approve massive sale of ivory

The world’s only body that can limit trade in endangered species kicked off a 12-day meeting this weekend with one hell of a bang: The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, approved the sale of some 60 tons of ivory by three African nations to Japan. That’s what the kids call ironical, because one of the proposals the 171-nation body will consider over the next two weeks is a 20-year moratorium on ivory trading, favored by 20 African countries. The group will also look at dozens of other measures, including possible protections for sharks, gazelles, tigers, great apes, and several hardwood tree species. And for the first time, CITES — which has overseen the international wildlife trade since 1975 — may consider the impacts of its enforcements on the livelihood of the poor. “You are making policy for the biodiversity of the future,” Gerda Verburg, CITES chair and Dutch agriculture and nature minister, told the group. But no pressure.