AND THE IVORY TRADE
AFRICAN ELEPHANTS, CITES AND THE IVORY TRADE
J.R. Caldwell and J.G. Barzdo
Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
6, rue du Maupas
Case postale 78
1000 Lausanne 9, Switzerland
A publication of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Lausanne, Switzerland.
The publishers gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Commission
of the European Communities in the preparation of this publication.
Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1986
The presentation of material in this document and the geographical
designations employed do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever
on the part of the CITES Secretariat concerning the legal status of any
country, territory, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers
This publication consists of two reports prepared by consultants for the
CITES Secretariat. The first, "Establishment of African Ivory Export Quotas
and Associated Control Procedures", by Rowan B. Martin, relates to elephant
populations, the ivory export quota system and relevant administrative
procedures. The second, "The World Trade in Raw Ivory, 1983 and 1984" by
John R. Caldwell and Jonathan Barzdo (of the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit
of IUCN's Conservation Monitoring Centre), relates to the international ivory
trade. These reports were distributed to a limited audience in draft form in
April 1985. Following the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to
CITES (Buenos Aires, 1985) the texts have been revised and amended, and also
translated into French and Spanish.
Although the opinions expressed in these reports are those of the authors and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the CITES Secretariat, it has been
acknowledged that the contents provide the necessary basis for the
establishment of the procedures required for the full implementation of
Resolution Conf. 5.12 on "Trade in Ivory From African Elephants". The CITES
Secretariat believes that these reports form a major contribution to the
development of conservation programmes for the African elephant.
The Secretariat wishes to thank the authors for their excellent work and the
Commission of the European Communities for its financial support for the
whole project, as well as for generous provision of translation services. In
addition, the Government of Zimbabwe provided facilities and allowed
R.B. Martin to undertake the work.
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ESTABLISHMENT OF AFRICAN IVORY EXPORT QUOTAS
AND ASSOCIATED CONTROL PROCEDURES
Report to the CITES Secretariat
1 March, 1985
(Revised 1 August, 1985)
Title Page i
Contents List "
Terms of contract and work carried out 1V
CHAPTER 1: ELEPHANT POPULATION ESTIMATES
TABLE 1 - ELEPHANT POPULATION ESTIMATES
INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES 3
CHAPTER 2: ESTIMATING IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTAS
PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT 15
Summary of method 22
Quota Form Ql 23
Quota Form Q2 31
KEY FACTORS INVOLVED IN SETTING QUOTAS 34
EXPORT QUOTAS FOR INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES 36
A QUOTA FOR AFRICA 48
Quota derived from individual countries .... 48
Quota derived from population estimate .... 49
Strategies to improve the situation 50
Broader issues 51
CHAPTER 3: ADMINISTRATION 54
INTERNATIONAL PROCEDURES 56
INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION 66
INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES 75
APPENDICES (see next page for list)
Chad elephant population 1 page
Congo elephant population 1 page
Gabon elephant population 1 page
Zaire elephant population 5 pages
Ethiopia elephant population 1 page
Kenya elephant population 1 page
Malawi elephant population 1 page
Mozambique elephant population 1 page
Zambia elephant population 2 pages
Zimbabwe elephant population 1 page
CITES Resolution Conf. 5.12
CITES Document Doc. 5.22.1 (Rev.) 8 pages
Demonstration quota for Zimbabwe - 1985 3 pages
Ivory Producers Export Cartel (IPEC) 4 pages
Legalised poaching 3 pages
TERMS OF CONTRACT AND WORK CARRIED OUT
The objectives of the project were as follows:
(i) To collect and collate the best available data and information
relating to the status of the African elephant Loxodonta af ricana .
(ii) To assist governments in establishing quotas for the export of raw
(iii) To recommend procedures for the control and co-ordination of the
export quota system.
The project lasted from 15 November 1984 to 1 March 1985, during which
period I visited Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia,
Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Gabon, Zaire
and Congo (in that order). I had also hoped to visit Angola, Mozambique
and Ivory Coast (being other major producers), but time did not permit
this. Indeed, it was not possible to spend more than 3-5 days in those
countries which I did visit.
I met with the Chairman of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant and Rhino
Specialist Group (Dr. David Western) in Nairobi to discuss the project,
and obtained recent data on elephant populations from Iain
Douglas-Hamilton. I familiarised myself with the population modelling work,
being carried out by Pilgram and Western, which has important applications
for management of elephants.
This report is the final requirement of the contract.
NOTE: The final draft for publication was prepared after the 5th
meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Buenos
Aires (22 April-3 May 1985). As a result of resolutions passed
and documents accepted at this meeting I have revised the final
chapter on Administration to include a description of the
control procedures agreed between the Party states, the reasons
for these controls and the effects they may be expected to have
on the trade in ivory.
Estimates of elephant population numbers for ivory producing countries were
assembled from several sources. The results of recent surveys were used where
these were available, and official estimates from the wildlife authorities in
certain countries were preferred if these were based on recent information. In
some countries for which there were no data an estimate was arrived at based
on rainfall and human densities, combined with local knowledge of the various
parts of the country. Where no new information was available, the population
estimates from the IUCN/SSC meeting held in Hwange, 1981, were used.
All countries visited favoured the introduction of a quota system. It should
exclude countries who have no elephant, lead to improved internal management
in the ivory producing countries, and strengthen the authority of government
wildlife agencies within their own countries.
A method is given for estimating the expected ivory production from a country
based on the areas where elephant occur, the populations in those areas, and
the various causes of elephant mortality. From the total production of tusks
an export quota can be estimated after adding surpluses from previous years
and deducting the amounts which will be consumed by domestic carving
It is emphasized that the setting of quotas should be regarded as a form of
active, adaptive management. Whilst the estimates of quotas may be inaccurate
in the first few years, they can be improved each year provided the necessary
data acquisition systems are introduced at the outset.
Various principles of harvesting elephant populations are discussed using
computer models to predict outcomes. The maximum sustained yield of ivory
would be that derived from the natural mortality in a stable population which
has reached carrying capacity (Pilgram and Western, 1984). The practicality of
allowing elephant ever to reach this stable state is questioned, and the
effect of harvesting from fast growing populations below carrying capacity is
examined. At a population level of one million animals, models indicate that a
sustained harvest of about 750 tonnes can be obtained by culling breeding
herds and managing for large males.
Models were examined which demanded a constant harvest of ivory from
populations, combined with selective hunting for the largest tusks. The
maximum sustainable harvest from a million animals was about 400 tonnes per
annum. Exceeding this resulted in rapid population declines. Modelling was
used to simulate the current situation in the ivory trade given a value for
mean tusk weight, the number of animals harvested per year, the annual harvest
in tonnes, and a declining elephant population. The population status which
satisfied all conditions was that of about 800 thousand animals declining at a
rate of 1.8%. If the present harvest level were sustained the rate of decline
of the population could be expected to increase rapidly in the near future.
It is pointed out, however, that such modelling is of limited value: Africa's
elephant population is not one large herd being subjected to a uniform
harvesting treatment. There are many secure populations in National Parks, and
this means that the harvest is coming from only a part of the continental
population. The process in operation is a series of local extinctions, rather
than a general decline of all elephant.
Quotas were estimated for individual countries based on the approach that the
offtake should not exceed 1-3% of populations depending on management policies
and circumstances in the country concerned. This resulted in a crude estimate
of a sustained yield of some 230 tonnes for Africa as a whole, of which 80
tonnes would be consumed internally and 150 tonnes exported. An existing
surplus of 185 tonnes at present in government stores could be added to this
for the first year of the quota. The result is consistent with a 2% offtake
calculated globally from a population of one million animals. It is also
consistent with a model which tested the effects of various harvests on
reducing the present trend. The present level of offtake from elephant
populations combined with selection for the largest tusks cannot be considered
Administrative procedures necessary to make the quota system workable at an
international level are discussed. This includes procedures for export, the
marking of tusks, rules for worked ivory, the definition of re-export,
referral of export permits, and provisions for small pieces of ivory. It is
recommended that the export of confiscated ivory is kept separate from the
rest of the quota, because it is difficult to estimate in the first place, and
because it cannot justifiably be called the result of planned management
Comments are made on the large variations in the price of ivory from one
country to another in Africa, and the possibility of joint marketing among
countries is advanced as an option to improve the situation.
Internal administration is viewed as the major problem facing most countries.
Emphasis should be placed on efficient anti-poaching measures, improved
controls on raw ivory in private hands, enforcement of correct hunting
procedures, and methods of selling ivory. The domestic carving industries in
many countries are major users of illegal ivory and strategies need to be
found for governments to control this flow.
Few countries have programmes for the rational utilisation of wildlife and the
majority of government ivory comes from confiscations rather than planned
offtakes. This is seen as a failure of conservation policies to take into
account the realities of the situation outside protected areas. It is
suggested that in certain instances governments should recognise the
inevitability of illegal hunting, and seek ways to manage it rather than to
ban it or to ignore it.
Finally, the administrative systems in individual countries are discussed.
This includes wildlife policies, staff establishments, and procedures for
handling the ivory trade. Practices which are unique to certain countries are
Footnote : At the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in
Buenos Aires in April/May 1985 a Resolution was adopted which will bring the
quota system into operation in January 1986. Several important administrative
procedures will come into effect at the same time:
1. An Ivory Unit will be established under the CITES Secretariat which will
maintain a data bank of all tusk numbers in the trade, monitor export
quotas and assist with referral procedures.
Both producer and non-producer countries will register all present stocks
of ivory which may enter the international trade and submit the details to
the Ivory Unit. This will allow separation of primary export statistics
from re-exports in analysing the volume of the world ivory trade.
A set of referral procedures will come into place whereby no importing
country will clear an ivory shipment until the Management Authority in the
exporting country has confirmed the validity of the export permit with the
Management Authority of the importing country, either directly or via the
CITES Secretariat. Copies of all export permits will also be sent to the
Ivory Unit to enable them to monitor quotas and assist with referral
I will begin by thanking the wildlife authorities in each of the countries I
visited. In all of these countries I found dedicated, enthusiastic officers,
and this bodes well for the future. There is a tendency for the outside world
to regard the wildlife authorities in the ivory producing countries as part
and parcel of the problems in the international ivory trade: I believe this is
largely untrue. Most of the authorities are highly concerned about the decline
in elephant numbers in their countries, and are anxious to halt illegal
hunting. However, they have inadequate budgets, staff and equipment, and are
frequently under extreme pressure from politicians and private citizens
pressures which western democratic countries would find difficult to
As a civil servant of Zimbabwe, I know my own feelings towards the endless
stream of consultants who use my valuable time and pick my brains for
information for their reports, the worth of which- I question. I have now found
myself in the role of a consultant, and I am surprised that the following
people gave so freely of their time to make my mission possible.
Mushanana L. Nchunga (Director), G.T. Masina (Chief Warden)
ZAMBIA: Star M. Yamba (Director), Dr. H.N. Chebwela (Deputy-Director),
A.N. Mwenya (Chief Warden), George Mubanga ( Sen. Wl. Res. Off . ) .
MALAWI: Moses Kumpumula (Chief Parks and Wildlife Officer),
Henri Nsanjama (Principal Parks and Wildlife Officer),
Dr. R.H.V, Bell (Sen. Parks and Wildlife Officer [Research]).
TANZANIA: Fred Lwezaula (Director), J. A. Kayera (Deputy-Director),
Muchungusi Katalihwa (G.O.), Mr. Merinyo (Chief Admin. Officer),
Karim Hirji (Director-General of Serengeti Wildlife Institute),
Mr. Ndalango (Director TAWICO), Mr. Rente (Regional Game
Officer), Bokari Mbano (Principal, Mweka College).
KENYA: J. P. Oriero (Director Conservation).
SOMALIA: Dr. Abdillahi Ahmed Karani (Gen. Manager National Range Agency),
Yousuf Mohammed Ahmed Harare (Director Wildlife).
ETHIOPIA: Abdu Mahamued (OIC Wildlife Utilisation and Anti-Poaching) .
SUDAN: Dr. El Rayah Omer Hasaballa (Director Wildlife Conservation and
National Parks Forces).
Ali Djalbord Diard (ministre du Tourisme, des eaux et forets),
Daboulaya Ban-Ymari (directeur des Eaux, forets et chasses),
Naipadja (chef Div. faune), Djimet Moudzima, Todjimbaye
Nahodjim, Daniel Djelardje.
Raymond Mbitikon (haute commissaire) , Nicaise Ngoupandg
(directeur des Chasses), Gustave Dogoumbe (directeur technique
CNPAF) , Raymond Damango (directeur-general CNPAF) ,
Jean-Paul Tomassey (conseiller ) .
CAMEROON: Dr. Abdoulaye Souaibou (delegue general au Tourisme), David Momo
(directeur de la Faune et pares nationaux), Djoh a Ndiang Issa
(chef du Service des chasses).
GABON: Raphael Dipouma (directeur des Eaux, forets et chasses),
Henri-Max Boudiala (chef du Service des chasses).
ZAIRE: Mankoto ma Mbaelele (directeur IZCN, conseiller au Cabinet de
commissaire d'Etat), Muembo Kabemba (directeur scientifique et
techniques du Service de la chasse), Dr. Bihini won wa Musiti
(chef du Service de la chasse).
CONGO: Francois Ntsiba (sec. ggngral aux Eaux et forets), Rigobert
Ebonzo, Opouya Joseph, M'beri-Mbabou Emmanuel.
If I may single out particular countries without giving offence to others, I
would like to thank particularly the officials of Chad and Zaire with whom I
felt a special rapport during the course of our work. George Mubanga (Zambia),
Bokari Mbano (Tanzania), and Abdu Mahamued (Ethiopia) gave me a large amount
of their time and helped to make my stay in their countries very pleasant.
The following non-governmental staff assisted me during the course of my
travels in various countries: In Kenya, from the African Elephant and Rhino
Specialist Group, Dr. David Western gave me sound counsel on the project, Tom
Pilgram spent considerable time with me discussing management strategies, and
Iain Douglas-Hamilton provided data on status and trends of elephant
populations. Mike Norton-Griffiths gave me an excellent insight into the
processes at work in the rural areas of Kenya and Tony Archer assisted me with
more than travel arrangements. Dr. Murray Watson gave me data and background
information in Somalia, and Martin Butterworth and Trevor Wilson of ILCA made
my stay in Addis Ababa very pleasant. Gaafar Elias Basaid in Sudan explained
to me many intricacies of the ivory trade and Richard Carroll of Yale
University very kindly interpreted throughout my meetings in the Central
African Republic. David Lloyd and G. von Wild of Uele Safaris in Zaire were
extremely good to me, both in providing information and hospitality. Brigitte
Manet interpreted for me in Gabon and Ernest Fausther of UNDP Congo gave a
large amount of his time in interpreting and attending to my other problems.
I thank the UNDP/UNEP offices which assisted me with the logistical problems
of travelling to so many countries in such a short time. In particular I would
like to thank Robin Kinloch, the Resident Representative for Zaire, who took a
close interest in my work, was extremely hospitable and solved several minor
crises for me. In the Congo, the acting Resident Representative, Michael
Askwith, gave me a similar reception and his staff were very helpful.
Jaques Berney and Chris Huxley of the CITES Secretariat have done a great deal
to make this project a success, and I thank them for their efficient handling
of all matters.
I am grateful to the Director of the Department of National Parks and Wild
Life Management in Zimbabwe, Dr. Graham Child, for allowing me to undertake
this consultancy and for valuable advice relating to it. I thank also my
fellow staff members John White and Graham Nott for the large amount of time
they have spent familiarising me with the internal administration of the ivory
trade in Zimbabwe. It became very clear to me during the course of my travels
that nowhere else in Africa is there such an efficient system of controls.
Jonas Chifota in our computer section assisted me by checking calculations,
and our librarian, Maggie Taylor, provided an extremely rapid service on all
Finally, my very special thanks to the following people.
Jean-Marc Froment of FAO travelled from Senegal to Bangui to meet me and give
me his findings in a significant study of the ivory trade in C.A.R. This work
was invaluable to me and quite beyond the scope of anything I could have
achieved in my short visit. As a result, I was able to use my time in C.A.R.
to address the important conservation issues armed with sound information.
Apart from the report, the close contact with him for four days in Bangui gave
me an understanding of the systems operating in Francophone countries which
was of value for the remainder of my trip.
Richard Bell of Malawi has assisted me with analysis of data, in-depth
discussion of management issues, correspondence on practical administrative
matters, and an extremely detailed and valuable criticism of the final draft
of this report. The concept of "legalised poaching" advocated in this report
was first recommended to me by him. I thank both Richard and his wife Kathy
for their hospitality and stimulating company.
Ian and Chris Parker were extremely kind to me during a long stay in Kenya,
and must have been extremely pleased when I finally left for Somalia. I value
very highly Ian's pragmatic advice on all issues relating to the ivory trade,
and regard him as a major philosopher. At times he leaves me totally
frustrated when he picks the holes in my "wishful" proposals to improve the
conservation scene in Africa, but I have learnt that his advice is not be be
ignored. I thank both Parkers for their wisdom and hospitality.
I thank David Cumming, my boss and colleague, for his part in this report. My
acceptance of this consultancy affected his own long-standing plans for
personal leave, but he allowed it nevertheless. The rapid workshop techniques
which I used to advantage in several parts of this mission have evolved
through his leadership in our Branch of Terrestrial Ecology. The practical
aspects of managing elephants populations have been tried and tested in
Zimbabwe under his direction and planning. He has criticised and suggested
improvements to this report, and been available for discussion throughout the
project. I am very grateful.
Lastly, my very special thanks to my wife Elizabeth who has effectively been a
widow during the course of this consultancy, but has still kept everything
working in my absence. She has helped criticise the final draft of the report,
provided sage advice and encouragement, and generally made the whole mission
1. ELEPHANT POPULATION ESTIMATES
The elephant population estimates for Africa (Table 1) have been compiled from
Cumming & Jackson (1981), Douglas-Hamilton (1984), official estimates from the
wildlife authorities in the countries visited, and certain new estimates which
I have made in collaboration with the technical staff of the countries
concerned. At the recent meeting of the Technical Committee of CITES in
Brussels (1984), it was agreed that the estimates derived at the IUCN/SSC
meeting at Hwange in 1981 would serve as the official data until better
estimates were available. In preparing the figures I have accepted the
IUCN/SSC estimate in each case unless there have been sound reasons for
revising it. In some countries the authorities felt fairly strongly that their
official estimates should have preference over any others, and in these cases
I have accepted their views.
In Table 1 all the above estimates are shown for comparative purposes.
Douglas-Hamilton has prepared both a low and a high estimate for each country
and both are included. Where confidence intervals exist for certain countries,
these are given in the text. I have rounded off all estimates to the nearest
hundred animals: there are few cases where a higher precision is justified.
Each country is now discussed individually and the reasons for selecting a
particular estimate are given.
The summary table from the IUCN/SSC Hwange meeting is referred to as WM, and
Douglas-Hamilton (op. cit.) is referred to as IDH in the following text.
Unfortunately, there are no formal references given in the latter work, and in
the master table I have had to judge from the proportions of each estimate
arising under "aerial surveys", "ground and dung counts", and "informed
guesses" whether new information has come to hand since the Hwange meeting.
TABLE 1: ELEPHANT POPULATION ESTIMATES
196 418 235 438
1 7 90 2 107
Benin : IDH figures suggest new aerial survey data have been acquired since
1981, and I have therefore taken the mean of his high and low
Ghana : IDH estimate is derived largely from an arbitrary density of
0.15/sq km applied to the entire range. I have chosen the WM figure.
Guinea : IDH estimate is based on an arbitrary density of 0.05/sq km I have
chose the WM figure.
Ivory Coast : New data are available from Roth et al . (1984), and this is the
same figure as the lower estimate in IDH.
Liberia : IDH mentions new information from Peal in text, and I have accepted
his figure. In recent conversations with Peace Corps volunteers from
Liberia, I gained the impression that little is known about numbers.
Mali : IDH mentions a survey by Robert Olivier, and further information from
Olivier and van Wijngaarden. I have used the new figure.
Mauritania : I have assumed this population has gone extinct since 1981. In
any case, the number is zero when rounded.
Niger: IDH estimate appears to be based on new information from John Newby ,
and is virtually identical to the WM estimate.
Nigeria: IDH estimate appears to be based on new survey date since 1981 and I
have taken the mean of the upper and lower estimates.
Senegal: IDH estimate is considerably lower than WM and appears to be based on
— ~ new aerial survey data. At the CIC meeting in Dakar on 19 April 1985
Senegal wildlife authorities estimated the number at about 50.
Sierre Leone: I have retained the WM estimated as there is no evidence of new
survey data in IDH.
Togo: IDH has new information from Government authorities in Togo, and I
have used his estimate.
Burkina Faso: I have accepted the WM estimate here as it is difficult to see
' ~~ how the survey data from Bousquet which IDH mentions have been
incorporated into the IDH estimate. Bousquet advises that illegal
hunting is at a high level and it is probably safer to use the lower
Central African Republic : A recent report by Froment (1985) gives the
population at 19 500 + 8 600. Both Froment (op.cit.) and Ruggiero
(1984) describe extensive over-exploitation of the elephant in
C.A.R., and Government authorities confirm this. The estimate
probably requires the wide confidence intervals given by Froment, and
the numbers will continue to decline in the near future. [Note:
recent surveys by Douglas-Hamilton in July 1985 indicate that the
numbers are under 10 000].
Cameroon : The IDH estimate is based on a questionnaire response by Victor
~ Sunday Belingo, and information from Alio, Ngog Nje, and Woodford
(reference not given). The largest part of the estimate arises from
applying a density of 0.04/sq km to an area of 277 225 sq km, and
this density is used in both the low and high estimates. The aerial
survey density given for an area of 1700 sq km is 0.29, and a density
of 0.23 is used under "informed guesses". The Chief of the Hunting
Service, Djoh a Ndiang Issa, advises that in many cases the elephant
densities are similar both inside and outside the protected areas. If
this is so, and, if, as reported, the illegal hunting is not
particularly severe, it is possible that the Cameroon population is
considerably higher than the IDH estimate which I have used.
Chad : Prior to my arrival in Chad the authorities sent out word to all
provinces asking for estimates of elephant numbers from their staff.
These estimates are given in Appendix 1, and the total lies between
2020 - 2885. This is extremely low, and instinctively I would be
inclined to increase any estimates based on ground counts. However, I
have not done so for the following reasons:
a) The technical staff of the Ministere du tourisme et des eaux,
forets, chasses argue strongly for the estimates as given.
b) There is no doubt that there has been a catastrophic reduction
of elephants in Chad since the outbreak of war in 1979. The
situation is reminiscent of Uganda in the mid-1970s. I was given
eye-witness accounts of complete herds being eliminated using
helicopters and anti-aircraft guns mounted on vehicles.
c) There may, in fact, be good reason to accept the ground
observations of the official staff. The terrain varies from
Sahel to Sudanese savannah and elephant are extremely
conspicious. The villagers take a close interest in the herds
and are able to report fairly accurately the numbers in their
vicinity. I had first-hand experience of this in an area south
of N'Djamena where a large herd of elephant had appeared since
the war. We travelled from village to village trying to locate
the animals and received precise reports of their numbers and
last sightings from each settlement. This was backed up by
evidence of spoor and droppings. I got the impression that the
elephant were in very little danger from the villagers: the
excitement caused by their presence in the area was obvious, and
it appeared that people were not anxious to see a return to the
hunting situation during the war.
d) Elephants were also reported at Lake Chad and in the desert east
of the lake while I was in N'Djamena, and the staff of the
wildlife department thought that many herds were returning from
Nigeria, Cameroon, C.A.R. and Sudan following the disturbance of
the war. The drought conditions in the Sahel zone are giving
rise to extensive movements of herds within the very large home
ranges characteristic of this area, which overlap into adjacent
countries. There is a general southward trend of both humans and
elephants, and it is to be expected that elephant carrying
capacity will be lowered without any hunting pressures.
Congo : The IDH lower and upper estimates for the Congo are largely derived
by applying the same density (0.02/sq km) to areas of 74 185 sq km
and 159 385 sq km respectively, giving 2 700 - 4 500 elephants. The
WM estimate is 10 800, and the officials in the country feel the
number lies between 10 - 15 000. I have gone out on a limb with an
estimate of 59 000 which is derived in Appendix 2, using the method
described for Zaire.
Equatorial Guinea : I have accepted the IDH estimate here, but note that there
is no difference between the high and low estimate and it is
arbitrarily based on a density of 0.09/sq km
Gabon : The IDH low estimate, 12 014, is obtained by applying a density of
0.09/sq km to a range of 133 490 sq km, and the high estimate,
24 028, arises by increasing this range to 266 979 sq km. The WM
estimate, 13 400, and the official estimate, 14 000, both lie within
the range of IDH. I have calculated a population of 48 000 (Appendix
3) using the method described for Zaire.
Zaire : This country is the large unknown factor in Africa, and there appears
to be an "open season" on making estimates for the total number of
elephant it contains. At the Hwange Meeting, figures varying from one
hundred thousand to two million were bandied about but I cannot
recall the authorities for any of the estimates. While I was in
Zaire, we held a 6 hour workshop to estimate elephant numbers using a
hybrid technique based on Parker (1984), and the best available local
knowledge of some eight technical staff of the IZCN (Institut zai'rois
pour la conservation de la nature), most of whom came from different
provinces in the country.
The estimate is very high, and I will be the first to admit the
arbitrary nature of some of the multiplication factors used in the
calculations. However, it does have the advantage that the estimate
is built up from a starting basis of the individual provinces in the
country and avoids applying a "blanket density" to the country as a
whole. Within the ranking systems, provision exists for adjusting
estimates upwards or downwards depending on first-hand knowledge of
local conditions in each province. Full details of the method used
are given in Appendix 4, and the same technique has been used for the
Congo and Gabon.
The technique is an adaptive method to provide information required
by administrators in a hurry. We are all aware that a full survey of
the number of elephant in Zaire would cost a lot of money and require
years to complete. The conservation priorities in Zaire do not
necessarily justify such a survey. A knowledge of elephant numbers
might be better arrived at over a period of years using an "active,
adaptive" method (Holling, 1978) which involves embarking on positive
management schemes, making estimates of ivory production, and
monitoring the outcome of such actions.
Ethiopia : I have used the official estimates given to me by the wildlife
authorities in Ethiopia (Appendix 5). WM has no estimate for
Ethiopia, and IDH's estimate is based on an indirect index for about
one quarter of the area, and an arbitrary density applied to the
remainder of the range.
Kenya: I was informed by the authorities in Kenya that they regard the
survey data from the Kenya Rangeland Ecological Monitoring Unit
(KREMU) as the only official estimate. Therefore I have taken the
most recent information (1983 surveys) from Stelfox et al. (1984) to
derive a figure for the country as a whole. I have extrapolated from
previous years to fill in the values for areas not surveyed in 1983
(Appendix 6) .
Rwanda: I have used the IDH figure here, rounded up to 100.
Somalia : I was fortunate to obtain recent data from Dr. Murray Watson in
Mogadishu which formed part of a consultant's report he was preparing
for the Somalia Government. The estimates given were supported by the
Two figures based on aerial surveys in the wet and dry seasons are
given: Nov/Dec 1983 - 12 773, and March 1984 - 4 476. I have used the
mean of these (8 600) as the estimate.
Watson states that many elephant appear to leave Somalia in the dry
season for Kenya, although to some extent the differences between the
figures may reflect a change in the animals' preferred habitat within
Somalia in the wet and dry seasons. Elephant are confined to
clay/sand mosaics, coastal limestones overlain by deep mixed soil,
the deep clays between the Jubba and Shabeelle, the eastern section
of the occasionally flooded heavy clay, and frequently flooded
uncropped heavy alluviums of the lower Shabeelle and Jubba valleys.
Watson feels, however, that the distribution of elephant in relation
to habitats may have been modified by severe disturbances, so that
their present distribution is not entirely due to ecological factors.
He feels the elephant are in the process of being eliminated. The
remaining herds occur in large nervous groups typical of a heavily
poached population. No males bearing large tusks were seen. From an
analysis of carcases, Watson estimates that between 1979 and 1982
about twice as many elephant died as now survive in Somalia. The
clumping of carcases suggests the elephant were killed by well-armed
commercial poachers in the same fashion as occurred in Kenya and
Sudan : I have used the mean of IDH's upper and lower estimates. In view of
recent heavy hunting (Merz, 1984) the WM figure is probably out of
date. Watson et al . (1976) estimated some 134 000 elephants in the
Southern Sudan and Dr. El Rayah Hasaballa (pers. comm. ) feels that
the total number might have been even greater. However, aerial
surveys in the Shambe area of Southern Sudan by Hillman, Snyder, Tear
and Somerlatte in 1981 showed significant downward trends. It is
quite likely that even the IDH figure no longer applies.
Tanzania : The mean of IDH's lower and upper estimates has been used. It is
important to note that the majority of Tanzania's elephant are
contained in the Selous Game Reserve (some 86 000 - Borner, 1981),
Ruaha National Park and Rungwa Kizigo Game Reserve (15 000 and 20 000
respectively - Borner and Severre, 1983). Douglas-Hamilton (1984s)
examines the trends in the Selous, and Douglas-Hamilton (1983)
discusses the general status of elephant in Tanzania.
Uganda : The mean of IDH's lower and upper estimates has been used. IDH states
that there has been no new information from Uganda since the 1982
Angola : IDH indicates that there are no new data from Angola because of the
war. For this reason, and because even 12 400 elephant is a very low
number for a country the size of Angola, I have selected the WM
estima te .
Botswana: IDH mentions recent aerial survey information from Melton, Moroko
and Work, and I have used the mean of the lower and upper figures.
Malawi : The value used is an estimate provided by Dr. R.H.V. Bell (Senior
Parks and Wildlife Officer). A breakdown of the populations in Malawi
is given in Appendix 7.
Mozambique: A recent estimate from Jose Tello has been used. This information
was obtained from Douglas-Hamilton, but has not yet been incorporated
into his master tables. The breakdown into component areas is given
in Appendix 8.
Namibia : I have used the figures given by Joubert and Mostert (1975). IDH's
figures are clearly a computer error. Hall-Martin (pers. comm. )
advises that there are no significant changes in the numbers today.
The breakdown is approximately as follows:
Etosha NP 1200
W. Damaraland 100 (100-150)
Remainder 500 (including Caprivi Strip)
Total 2000 (approximately)
South Africa : The figure used is the result of the latest census in 1984
(Hall-Martin, pers. comm.). This is a total count and there are no
upper and lower confidence limits.
Zambia : The figures used were given to me by George Mubanga (National Parks
and Wildlife Service) and are listed for each area in Appendix 9.
There has been a significant decline since 1981. [A survey by Gilson
Kaweche and Dale Lewis in January 1985 shows the total population of
the Luangwa Valley, including GMAs , to be of the order of 25 000
animals: this is some 10 000 lower than the estimate in this report]
Zimbabwe : The estimate from Dr. D.H.M. Cumming (Chief Ecologist) amounts to
47 000 + 3000 animals. Some 7000 will be culled in 1985 as part of a
long term programme to reduce the population to about 3 3 000 animals.
A breakdown of the populations inside the country is given in
Since the IUCN/SSC meeting in 1981 some major changes in the status of
elephant have occurred in certain countries. In some there have been massive
reductions in populations reminiscent of events in Uganda in the mid-1970s.
Chad, the Central African Republic, and the Sudan are in this category. The
statistics from the ivory trade (Caldwell, 1984) and the small size of tusks
being exported and used in domestic carving industries support the contention
that the populations in these countries have been greatly reduced. They are no
longer major ivory exporting nations.
Illegal hunting is extremely high in most of the Francophone countries which I
visited, with the possible exception of Cameroon. The officials report that
elephant are being reduced at a rate far greater than would be expected simply
from range shrinkage in the face of human population increase. Zaire, the
Congo and Gabon are in this category.
In Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia and Zambia illegal hunting
almost certainly exceeds the sustained yield of the populations. I am not sure
whether this is true of Tanzania: there is no good evidence to confirm the
point. A population of 200 000 animals in this country could easily support an
annual offtake of about 3% (6000 animals) distributed over the age pyramid,
and if the tusks exported were of an average weight of 5 kg, then some 60
tonnes could be expected to enter the international trade annually (less a
certain amount for the domestic carving industries). Tanzania's official
exports are on average less than 10 tonnes annually (Caldwell, op. cit.).
There is nevertheless a large amount of illegal hunting in the country which
the authorities are anxious to contain.
In Botswana populations appear to be increasing, and in Malawi, South Africa
and Zimbabwe elephant numbers are determined largely by management policies.
Despite the fact that populations are declining in most of the African
countries I visited, even in the worst affected countries elephant are not
likely to become extinct in the next few years. The tragedy in certain
countries is that the resource is being totally mismanaged, whether the
objectives are ivory production, meat production, or tourism. Several of the
countries which I visited have relatively low human populations, and have the
potential to manage their elephant for a high economic yield through safari
hunting or cropping (e.g. C.A.R., Congo, Gabon and Zaire). This will be
discussed further in the report.
Parker (pers. comm. ) has criticised the first draft of this report for its
failure to examine the elephant population estimates in relation to the known
volume of ivory which has entered the ivory trade in recent years. To rectify
this I have examined very briefly the implications of elephant deaths from
ivory trade figures between 1976 and 1984.
*Parker (1979 p. 68): 932 tonnes.
*Parker (1979 p. 68): 768 tonnes.
*Parker (1979 p. 68): 707 tonnes.
Caldwell (1984) Hong Kong and Japan only.
Caldwell (1984) Hong Kong and Japan only.
Caldwell (1984) Hong Kong and Japan only.
Caldwell (1984) Hong Kong and Japan only.
Caldwell (1985) : 644 tonnes.
Caldwell (1985) : 356.5 tonnes.
TOTAL 403 395
* - the number of animals has been derived from the tonnage by
assuming a mean tusk weight of 7.2 kg (Caldwell 1985) and
1.9 tusks per elephant.
I am well aware that these data may have omissions, but have used them simply
as a starting point to test whether the order of magnitude of elephant
population estimates for Africa as a whole could possibly support such a
offtake. The lower level of population estimates are about 1.2 - 1.3 million
animals, and so I have examined what this implies for elephant populations
capable of growth rates of 3, 4 and 5% in the absence of hunting.
Rate of Growth Rate of Growth
The results suggest that the order of magnitude of the population estimates
are totally compatible with the ivory offtakes. The modelling tends to rule
out estimates greater than 1.3 million because the population capable of
growing at as low a rate as 3% per annum would be increasing under the
harvesting regime, which does not appear to be happening. The lower limit is
about 800 000 animals coupled with a 5% growth rate which produces a net
apparent decline of -1.6% per annum.
There is a need for better inventory data on the elephant populations of
Africa. At one time I was convinced that this was an essential prerequisite
to any sound management programme. Now I am less certain. It seems to me that
census work should not become an all-consuming task, and that there are
higher priorities for allocation of resources. The present state of knowledge
of elephants in Africa can be summarised as follows:
a) Most countries in Africa have significant elephant populations which
are in no immediate danger of extinction.
b) Elephant numbers appear to be declining faster than is required to
provide land for expanding human populations, taking into account the
rate of human increase on the continent.
c) The causes of the decline are not simply a high trade value of ivory,
or an expanding human population, or the irrational greed of
"poachers". There are fundamental socio-economic problems regarding the
ownership of the resource, disparate values of ivory in different
countries, and major administrative shortcomings which all contribute
to the problem. Internal improvements in these last three aspects are
needed to bring the situation under control.
There is little point in spending large sums of money solely to chronicle the
steady reduction in numbers. A knowledge of the decline will do little to
prevent that decline. Worse still is the attitude that only after an accurate
survey of numbers has been done, will it be possible to consider the next
steps in management - an attitude which I encountered in more than one
country. Perhaps accurate estimates of numbers are only required in those
countries with problems of vegetation damage caused by over-populations of
elephant and in which reductions are planned.
After travelling through a number of countries, I am left with the feeling
that in some of these we should relegate census work to a lower priority, and
begin considering adaptive management strategies. These may ultimately provide
better estimates of the number of animals as a secondary "spin-off" of
positive, well-designed programmes to bring elephant utilisation under the
firm control of wildlife authorities in their respective countries.
2. ESTIMATING IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTAS
The following is quoted from the initial proposal by the CITES Secretariat for
"Control of the ivory trade has been the subject of considerable
discussion for many years, both within CITES and in other circles, and it
is widely felt that current controls are inadequate and that there needs
to be substantial improvement in the effectiveness of CITES procedures in
At the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (New Delhi, India,
1981) a Resolution (Conf. 3.12) was adopted calling for certain measures
to be taken with respect to ivory trade controls, including the individual
marking of tusks. These measures have been only partially implemented thus
far and, although successful to some extent, they have not brought about
the desired degree of control.
At the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Gaborone,
Botswana, 1983) the topic was again the subject of much argument, and in
view of the complexity and scope of the issue it was agreed that the CITES
Technical Committee would devote a large proportion of its first meeting
to formulating proposals to improve the situation."
At the FAO Working Party on Wildlife Management and National Parks held in
Arusha, Tanzania, in September 1983, 24 African states passed a resolution
calling for the proper control of the trade in African ivory and calling upon
producer countries to have an annual export quota for ivory.
A similar resolution was adopted at the CITES Technical Committee meeting in
Brussels in June 1984. A draft Resolution of the Conference of the Parties was
submitted to the CITES Secretariat in November 1984 and was subsequently
accepted with revisions at the meeting held in Buenos Aires in April 1985
(Appendix 11). This Resolution calls for the introduction of a system of
export quotas based on a number tusks for each ivory producing country, which
will limit the quantity of legal ivory available to consumer countries.
The CITES Secretariat views the success of the new measures as depending on
three major factors. Firstly, the quotas set by each African country must be
realistic and must be based on the best available information on elephant
population numbers and their anticipated utilisation. Secondly, there must be
well defined control procedures centred on the CITES Secretariat. Finally, the
co-operation of all major consumer countries must be assured in recognising
the new system.
In all countries which I visited the first question I asked was "Do you really
want this system? ". This generally led to a discussion about the pros and cons
of the quota system. The chief advantage that emerges by almost universal
consensus is that countries who have no elephant will have no export quota,
and this should lead to the desirable situation where each state exports only
ivory originating in its own country. Conservation issues aside, this would be
a major improvement in the current situation.
The second advantage of the quota system lies in its implications for internal
management in each ivory producing country. It should encourage the
authorities to look critically at the process by which ivory finds its way
from the elephant in the bush to the export market, and to adjust policy
decisions in light of their findings. Over a period of years this could lead
to improved management of the resource through a process of annual revision.
Quotas would be set at the start of the year, results evaluated at the end of
the year and estimates revised for the following year. At each stage the
technical authorities have the opportunity to design adaptive management
programmes that will improve their knowledge at the end of the year.
A third advantage is one that was not obvious to me at the start of the
project, but became clearer as I visited more countries. Many government
agencies favour the application of a quota system in order to strengthen their
own internal position with regard to the ivory trade. At present most wildlife
departments are not particularly powerful within their government hierarchies,
and frequently find themselves forced to acquiesce to demands for export
permits whether they like it or not. However, when the matter becomes one of
international concern their position is quite different and they can
confidently point to the regulations binding CITES Party states.
A possible disadvantage of the system is that it may lead to unwarranted
interference from some non-producing countries and certain conservation
lobbies when the quotas are finally tabled and circulated. Value judgements
may be made as to the size of the quota, and this may end up being a source of
harassment for the producer country. In this regard, almost every country I
visited expressed the strong view that they would not be prepared to tolerate
undue infringement of their sovereign rights in the matter.
A weakness in the system is the expectation that by setting a quota, the
number of elephant killed in the country concerned will automatically be
adjusted to that quota. This wishful thinking exists both among producer and
non-producer countries. It is possible that over a period of time it will
become more difficult for illegal ivory to enter the international trade
because of the quota system, but it is doubtful whether the quota system per
se will do anything to prevent illegal hunting. In many countries almost all
the illegally hunted ivory enters the domestic carving trade and no export
quota system addresses the problem. In others, the wildlife authorities tend
to concern themselves solely with the resource inside gazetted protected areas
and regard their role as one of controlling international safari hunting.
Ivory which originates from unprotected areas in the country is not
registered, marked or recorded by the authorities, either in the area where it
originates or when it reaches a main centre. Whilst the authorities may find
themselves obliged to issue an export permit for such ivory, the trade
basically remains in private hands from the point of origin of the tusks to
the point of export. This is a key issue and can only be addressed through
internal administration. The quota system may even be counterproductive in
such countries: when private dealers approach the authorities for an export
permit and are told that this is not possible because their shipment has not
been catered for under the established quota, their reaction may be to resort
to illegal export, or to stockpile until their ivory can be legalised.
Despite these reservations, I found all countries strongly in favour of the
system. In their view the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
There was some confusion about the interpretation of the word "quota". A few
authorities were worried that, having set a quota, they would be obliged to
export the full amount stated. This introduces an important point. The word
"quota" is not appropriate in the sense in which it is employed in this
context. From the producer countries point of view, what is intended is an
estimate of ivory which will enter the international trade in any given year,
and any connotation suggesting satisfying the consumer market should be
avoided. The essence of the system is that it is a mechanism through which
producer countries can call into play on their own behalf the policing and
control facilities of other member states of CITES to assist them in their own
objectives of controlling exports.
In the proposal for this consultancy, the CITES Secretariat talks of limiting
the quantity of legitimate ivory available to consumer countries. Care must be
taken that the quota system does not become a two-edged sword: if consumer
countries demand that quotas are fulfilled the system will be
counterproductive for conservation.
There was also confusion about who would set the quota, and in some countries
the authorities thought that this would be done by CITES. Here too the word
quota is inappropriate because it carries a suggestion that CITES has the
power to limit quotas for individual producer countries. This is not so - the
prerogative rests entirely with the authorities of the country concerned. In
some countries I was left with the impression that they would have been
happier for an outsider to set the quota: perhaps because they felt this would
relieve them of the pressures that will undoubtedly fall on their shoulders
when their quotas do not coincide with the desires of ivory exporters.
In each country I pointed out the desirability of using biological knowledge
and positive management policies to estimate ivory production. The remainder
of the world might well be justified in questioning the size of the quota if
it was simply derived by looking at the previous year's exports and
arbitrarily stating the same figure, or adjusting it upwards or downwards
without any scientific basis. I offered to assist by running through a "dummy
exercise" in setting the quota if they wished to do this, using the
methodology which is explained later in this chapter. I stressed however, that
the figures should not be taken and used without further in-depth
consideration, and in certain aspects better data should be obtained before
the required date for quota submission. I also assured the authorities that I
had no intention of publishing the result of this exercise as a "desired"
quota for the country.
I have counselled against setting "wishful" quotas in all countries. Whilst
the authorities might hope that by setting a low quota the number of elephant
dying may decrease, there is little point in this if it results either in the
trade going "underground", or in vast surpluses of ivory accumulating which
the country is reluctant to export in order to save face having stated a
certain quota. Ivory is money, and an agency might justifiably be accused of
financial mismanagement if the proceeds from this resource remain blocked for
any length of time. Ten tonnes of ivory are worth about a million dollars and
the interest alone on such an amount is sufficient to provide a substantial
proportion of the running expenses for most wildlife agencies. It would be
better to overestimate the quota than to underestimate it", there is no
obligation to export the full amount, and in any case provisions exist for
extending the quota in any given year.
At an early stage it became apparent that many of the most fundamental
principles involved in harvesting elephant populations were not widely known.
As a result of this, where time permitted, I preceded the quota setting
exercise with a short discussion of the limits to which elephant can be
exploited, and optimum strategies for different management objectives. This
forms the basis of the next section.
PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT
Pilgram and Western (1984) discuss various strategies for managing elephant
populations for maximum sustained ivory harvest and two important principles
emerge from their work.
a) The sustained yield of ivory derived from natural mortality in a stable
population is the maximum harvest. There is no long-term cropping strategy
that can produce more ivory. It is more profitable to collect the heavy
tusks from a few old animals dying than to harvest any number of animals
which have not reached the normal age of death.
This is a result of the exponential growth curve of male tusks. Unlike a
butchery strategy for cattle, where the optimum is to slaughter animals at
the point at which they cease to gain body weight (or even slightly before
this), in the case of elephant the maximum ivory return is obtained by
allowing them to live their full life.
Parker and Bradley Martin (1982) state with regard to natural mortality in
stable man-free circumstances that "if all such ivory could be recovered,
it would be sufficient to meet most of or even exceed the current world
demand." But it is not clear from their paper whether they realise that
the harvest from natural mortality may, in fact, be the maximum
b) Any attempt to maintain an ivory harvest greater than that provided by the
natural mortality in a stable population, whether by random killing or by
selective hunting for larger tusks, ultimately results in the
extermination of the population. This results from the increasing numbers
of animals required in each successive year to sustain the same weight of
Whilst this might not, at first sight, appear to be the sort of strategy
that any responsible wildlife authority would consider, it may be the de_
facto situation in certain countries in Africa.
A constant harvest of ivory can be achieved by specifying a certain number
of animals to be harvested annually (provided this is within the sustained
yield capability of the population), but this will not exceed the harvest
from natural mortality in a stable population.
The above two points apply to the case where a population is being managed for
maximum ivory return, and are a strong economic argument. The argument is
further enhanced by the fact that the price per kilogramme of ivory is far
higher for large tusks, and by the fact that while waiting for males to reach
their terminal age they can be earning valuable revenue as a tourist
attraction. The key assumption in the above is that of a stable population,
and the practicalities of such a state are discussed below.
In modelling elephant populations, perhaps the most critical parameters are
the fecundity of breeding females from the ages of 15 to 45 years, and the
mortality over the same range (provided there is not an excessive neonatal
mortality). In the course of modelling the elephant population in the Luangwa
Valley, Hanks and Mcintosh (1973) found that, of all the reproductive
homeostatic mechanisms, changes in the calving interval (fecundity) had the
greatest effect on the growth of the population. If stability is achieved with
a very low fecundity and a very low mortality, production of animals (and
hence ivory) will not be high. Obviously, for maximum production the higher
the fertility the greater is the potential. A stable population arising from
high fertility and high mortality will be most productive. However, such a
hypothetical population ignores the known mechanisms which elephant possess
for self-regulation. Unfortunately, there are very few documented cases of
stable populations much less an analysis of the fecundity and mortality in
them. Laws et al. (1975) carried out a detailed study of the population
dynamics of the Murchison Falls National Park population, but this was
actually declining at the time. A feature of the population was a very low
fecundity combined with high mortality.
I have modelled a stable population by beginning with mortalities and
fecundities calculated for the MFNP population (Laws et al., op. cit.).
Initially this resulted in a declining population, and I adjusted the
fecundity upwards and the mortality downwards until stability was achieved.
Over the middle range the fecundity used was 0.2 calves per adult female per
year and the mortality in each age class was 0.03 animals per year. Using the
tusk weight formulae given by Pilgram and Western (1983) for East African
males and females, I examined the implications of a stable population of one
million animals. My estimate for the total ivory produced from natural
mortality was some 670 tonnes per annum. The mean tusk weight for males was
12.6 kg and for females 3.4 kg, giving a combined mean of 8 kg. This is not
far from the requirements of the international trade (700-800 tonnes per annum
- E. Bradley Martin, 1983). However, it is totally impractical to expect that
all of Africa's elephant populations will ever be in a stable state with these
particular population parameters at the level of one million animals: it will
A stable population is assumed to arise when populations are at ecological
carrying capacity. In Africa very few populations appear to be anywhere near
such a ceiling. Vegetation damage is occurring in the Chobe National Park,
Botswana (Clive Walker, pers. comm. ) and Ruaha National Park, Tanzania (Borner
and Severre, 1983), but this does not mean that the animals, if undisturbed,
will not increase to even higher levels. When considering stability for
elephant populations due thought must be given to the very large time lags
involved before the effects of self-regulation are evident.
Very often populations exceed the desired level and further reduce the
carrying capacity of the land before any overt signs of regulation are
manifest. Caughley (1974) argues that perhaps elephant are not regulated in a
steady-state condition of constant numbers but undergo long term cycles in
response to their own effects on the environment. All of this is somewhat
hypothetical - few elephant populations are being given the opportunity to
test it out. With the present hunting regimes in Africa, populations are
likely to be well under carrying capacity, and even if all illegal hunting
ceased, it is doubtful whether the range is available to allow them to
increase arbitrarily to some undefined limit where they reach carrying
capacity and hence stability.
Let us assume that the population of elephant in Africa is one million
animals, and that this is well below the carrying capacity. If hunting
pressures were to be removed the animals could be expected to increase rapidly
towards some distant ecological carrying capacity. Natural mortality should be
low and fecundity high. Assume that the number is initially below one million
animals and by the time it passes the level of one million, it has achieved a
stable age structure. In the year that it exceeds one million it is of
interest to consider the ivory harvest arising from natural mortality alone. I
have modelled this using parameters derived from a fast growing population in
Zimbabwe (R.B. Martin - Ph.D thesis, in prep.) with a fecundity over the
middle range of 0.25 calves per adult female per year and a mortality of 0.01
animals per year in each age class, giving a rate of growth of 5%. Using the
same technique for estimating the ivory production as above, the outcome was
200 tonnes in the year in which the population reached one million animals.
Mean tusk weights were 11.3 kg for males, 3.1 kg for females, and 7.2 kg
overall. The low mortality gave rise to the low production. Using the same
approach but adjusting the parameters to give a 3.6% growth rate (0.22 calves
per adult female per year and 0.015 mortality in the middle range), the
production rose to 300 tonnes, with the same mean tusk weights. If by some
miracle all illegal hunting could be stopped, and everyone stood by to wait
for the bonanza from natural mortality, they would be disappointed. The first
thing that would happen is that the elephant populations would begin to
increase rapidly, and it would be a long time before stablisation occurred and
yields of ivory from natural mortality began to rise.
Now let us consider the application of culling to stablilise the population
artificially at one million animals. The management strategy used in the model
was to remove sufficient animals from the breeding herds to cause the
population to level off. All females were reduced in the proportion in which
they occurred in the population, and males which would have been in the cow
herds (I assumed under 12 years old) were similarly treated. Males above 12
years old were not affected. Natural mortality was assumed to operate in
addition to the culling. This is not an unreasonable assumption in such a
case*, there is always a certain level of natural mortality arising from such
factors as accidents, disease and predation which are unrelated to
density-dependence. In the case of the population described above which was
increasing at 3.6%, the annual harvest rose to 765 tonnes (Mean tusk weights:
males 15.2, females 2.7 combined 8.8 kg). In the case of the population
increasing at 5% the harvest was 784 tonnes (Mean tusk weights: males 15.6,
females 2.4, combined 8.8 kg).
Having gone this far, I could not resist testing to see whether some hunting
of the males over 45 years old could produce any addition to the harvest. I
found a very slight improvement could be had by harvesting about 5% of the
males in this class, raising the total harvest to 790 tonnes. I have no doubt
that additional improvements could be made with further manipulations of the
data and the management strategies, but time did not permit this. A run
subjecting both males and females to the same culling treatment actually
reduced the ivory harvest, and it is clear that all management for ivory must
be directed towards maximising the number of males in the upper age classes.
Both the above management strategy and that of Pilgram and Western (op. cit . )
assume that all the tusks from natural mortality will be found. Parker (1979)
gives examples of finding rates and these are generally low (about 6% of what
is available: however, Bell, in reviewing Parker (1979), recalculated ^ the
finding rates from Parker's data to about 25%). Parker found that some 20% of
tusks in the trade came from natural mortality, my suspicion is that this
proportion would be far lower today. In the tusks I examined in several ivory
stores in African countries, I found very few tusks which satisfied the
criteria given by Parker (op. cit.) for recognising natural mortality. It
would be impractical to demand that all African ivory were recovered after the
animals died naturally: inevitably an enterprising hunter would speed up the
process. However, the important principle is that only the oldest males should
be hunted and if the hunting pressure is more than a low percentage the ivory
harvest will decline. This is a relatively easy process to monitor: the
average weights of tusks taken on safari hunting are a good guide to the
degree of exploitation.
Of course, not all elephant populations are being managed for economic
reasons, and it might appear that the above arguments have limited
application. Culling is normally carried out when populations exceed the
desired carrying capacity simply to reduce numbers and protect vegetation.
However, it is interesting that a culling strategy used for conservation
reasons is probably the optimum for ivory production also.
The last series of modelling tests that I carried out was to examine the
effect of demanding a constant harvest of ivory from a fast growing population
using selective hunting for the largest tusks. This is probably closest to the
situation pertaining in Africa today. The degree of selectivity was directly
proportional to the weight of tusks in each age class, and I used Pilgram and
Western's regression formulae for East African ivory. I found that at a level
of one million animals a harvest of slightly over 400 tonnes could be
sustained. At this level the population growth rate was effectively zero. The
initial rate of growth of the population was not particularly critical: the
two populations defined above which without hunting would grow at 5% and 3.6<£,
and a further populations with a growth rate of 2.3%, all sustained a harvest
greater than 400 tonnes with small differences caused by the amount of natural
mortality. The mean weight of male tusks was 4.5 kg and the overall mean was
3.6 kg, which is considerably lower than those in the trade at present.
Some interesting points emerged from the modelling. Starting with the stable
age distribution generated before the hunting started, the population was
extremely resilient and took 25-50 years to arrive at a new stable age
distribution under the harvesting treatment. Despite the fact that these
populations were only capable of a growth rate of between 2.3-5% when not
hunted, they could sustain offtakes of just under 7% when at the point of
maximum sustainable harvest. This is an artifact caused by the new shape of
the age pyramid - , there is a preponderance of juveniles in the population which
gives rise to an apparently high rate of reproduction. However, if the hunting
pressure is removed the rate of increase reverts back to that which was
initially defined. Parker and Bradley Martin (1982) in their paper "How Many
Elephants are Killed for the Ivory Trade" state that percentages as high as
4.1% are "within the theoretical capacity for an elephant population to
sustain". This model confirms the point.
As 400 tonnes is less than the harvest required by the trade, I examined
sustainable harvests from populations of 1.5 and 2 million animals. As might
be expected, the harvests rose to 600 and 800 tonnes respectively.
1 then examined the effects of trying to take a harvest of more than the
sustainable amount from a population capable of a 5% growth rate in the
absence of hunting. In doing this the starting conditions of the model greatly
affect the end result, and there are a wide range of options which can be
tested. I will deal only with two. The first involved taking a population of
2 million animals with a stable age distribution generated from an 800 tonne
harvest which it could sustain, and then increasing the harvest to an amount
slightly in excess of 800 tonnes. It took 34 years to decline to 1.5 million
animals, a further 6 years to reach 1 million and a further 5 years to become
extinct. The second involved subjecting a population of 1 million animals
growing at a rate of 5% with a stable age distribution to a harvest of 750
tonnes annually. The population continued to increase for 22 years and peaked
at just under 1.5 million animals before beginning to decline. It took a
further 14 years to fall back to the level of one million and then crashed in
The results from these constant harvest models lead to some interesting
debate, and the whole debate hinges on the presumption that the model is
somewhere near correct. If we consider the fact that the amount of ivory in
the trade has been 600-800 tonnes for the last four years and the mean tusk
weights are higher than those which I find by modelling to be the limits of a
constant harvest, it is tempting to conclude that the present estimates of the
African elephant population are too low. Only a population of some 2 million
animals could sustain such a harvest. I have assumed East African tusk weights
for the calculations and these are probably higher than in other elephant
populations in Africa which would further strengthen the argument: the lower
tusk weights it would require more animals to provide the harvest. The number
of animals providing the tusks in trade to Hong Kong and Japan in 1983 was
67 000 (Caldwell, 1984). The highest offtake of animals that can be sustained
at a population of 2 million is about 130 000. There is only one flaw in this
argument, but it is sufficient to invalidate it. If the population of Africa
was 2 million animals and was being subjected to a harvest of 750 tonnes per
annum, it would not only be able to sustain it, it would be increasing at a
rate of 2-3%. And we can be fairly sure that this is not happening. The
decline documented by numerous surveys is good evidence (Douglas-Hamilton,
This led me to search for a scenario which satisfied the following conditions:
a) The population must be declining.
b) The offtake must be 750 tonnes per annum.
c) The number of animals providing this offtake must be about 70 000.
d) The mean tusk weight must be about 6 kg.
By iterative modelling, I arrived at a solution which satisfied all the above
criteria. The correct conditions occurred when I allowed harvesting to begin
on a population of 750 000 animals with a healthy age structure. The
population rose to about 1 000 000 animals despite the offtake and then began
to decline. At the point at which it fell below 800 000 animals all the above
conditions were satisfied. The process took about 30 years from inception of
the harvest and gave a current population of about 800 000 animals declining
at a rate of 1.8%. The age distribution was unstable and at this rate of
offtake the population would crash in less than 10 years.
Before spreading alarm and despondency, let me repeat that this a model which
may have errors in it, and does not take into account numerous factors which
could affect the situation. Caldwell (1985) has revised his estimate of the
number of animals killed for the ivory trade in 1983 to about 47 000 and the
figure for 1984 has dropped to about 26 000. At the same time no allowance has
been made for the illegal export trade or internal carving industries in
therefore quotas should be set in a manner which attempts to redress the
situation. During my trip I gave the following guidelines which are probably
a) If a population of elephant is being managed for sport hunting (i.e. large
tusks), then the percentage of animals allowed on licence each year should
not exceed about 0.5% of the total population.
b) Offtakes of up to 2% from the male sector of the population will not
seriously affect its status, although the long term yield of ivory will
not necessarily be higher.
c) For maximum yield from a population below carrying capacity, culling
operations which affect the breeding herds only are probably the optimum.
Provided the offtake is a "slice" along the edge of the age pyramid taking
all age classes in the proportion in which they occur in the population,
the shape of the age pyramid will remain unaffected and males can be
managed for maximum ivory production. Offtakes of up to 5% will not cause
the population to decline. (The above models confirm that this gives the
highest yield for a population below carrying capacity.)
d) A heavy yield from selective hunting should be avoided. (Modelling shows
that populations can certainly survive up to 6% in this manner, but it
does not produce the most ivory, and is the most disruptive to
The next section deals with a methodology for estimating the number of animals
dying each year, the amount of ivory they produce, and the export quota
derived from this ivory.
In order to make a final estimate of the number of tusks which a country will
have available for export, it is necessary to go through a number of distinct
steps. It would be convenient if the quota could be simply evaluated by taking
a proportion of the total population of elephant, but if this were done the
result would probably overlook a number of factors. The methodology presented
may appear far too complicated, and it may be thought that few countries will
have the information necessary to complete the exercise. I will argue strongly
against this. It may well be that in the first year few countries will have
accurate data either of elephant numbers or of the factors affecting those
numbers. However, I believe that the quota system should be aimed at improving
elephant management in Africa over a number of years, and this objective will
not be served by beginning with a method that does not cover all
ramifications. The methodology outlined here clearly identifies the vague
areas involved in reaching a final figure, and these need to become the
subject of research while the quota system is in operation. Indeed, the simple
overt decision of opting for a quota system has brought to the fore many
questions which I believe have never been fully addressed before.
In the first chapter I mentioned the need to move towards a system of active,
adaptive management. The act of setting an export quota for ivory provides a
very good opportunity to put this into practice. No technical person
completing the quota setting exercise which follows should be alarmed at the
fact that he may not know the right factors to use at each step of the
calculation. The right approach is to make an estimate - even if it is an
outright guess - and see what happens at the end of the quota year. The
estimate can be revised and improved for the following year. But most
important of all, during the year data recording systems should be put in
place which will permit the initial estimates to be examined. The initial
estimate and the final outcome must be compared in order to make better
estimates in the following year.
Many factors affect the amount of ivory available for export in any country,
and each country has differences in policy which need to be taken into
account. I began this trip armed with a pro-forma sheet for setting quotas
which might have worked in Zimbabwe but did not cover all the contigencies in
the rest of Africa. By testing the method in many countries, the shortcomings
in my initial system were exposed, and what is shown here should be a
considerable improvement. In those countries where the technical authorities
worked through the earlier exercise with me, this final set of procedures
should present no great problem. For people reading this for the first time, I
have tried to present a clear and sequential set of steps which arrive at a
final export quota.
Summary of Method
The following is a brief summary of each step in the process :-
1. Estimate the number of animals expected to die in the quota year.
2. Estimate how many of these deaths will be officially recorded (i.e. the
tusks will be registered by government authorities).
3. Estimate how many of the animals will bear tusks (i.e. how many are not
juveniles ) .
A. Estimate the number of tusks (i.e. allow for animals with one or no tusks).
5. If the country has a minimum size of tusk for export, estimate the number
of tusks which are above and below this limit.
6. Estimate the number of tusks likely to be confiscated by the authorities
in the quota year, both those originating in the country and those
originating from the neighbouring countries. Once confiscated they become
legal for export.
7. Estimate the stocks of ivory held over from the previous year, both in
government and private hands, which may be exported in the quota year.
8. Estimate the total number of tusks available in the year of the quota by
summing the above (Steps A + 6 + 7).
9. Estimate the number of tusks which will be used in the domestic ivory
carving industry within the country.
10. Deduct this from the total number of tusks to obtain the EXPORT QUOTA.
11. Deduct the number of trophy tusks from sport hunting to end up with the
number of tusks expected to enter the trade.
I have prepared two forms to be used in estimating ivory production. The first
(Form Ql) is used to estimated the number of animals expected to die in the
course of the quota year, and the number of tusks they will produce. The
second (Form Q2) is used to estimate the number of tusks which will be
exported. Each step in the method is now discussed in detail.
ESTIMATE OF IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTA
FORM 01: ESTIMATE OF ANIMALS DYING IN QUOTA YEAR
COUNTRY YEAR SHEET ... OF . .
Minimum »xport w»ight of tuek (if any) | | Kg.
CAUSE. OF DEATH
FINAL PAGE ONLY J X of population dying in quota y«or (1D0 x H/A)
Finding Factor | | I I
DEATHS OFFICIALLY RECORDED
Factor: no. with tu*k« [
ANIMALS BEARING TUSKS
Foctor: no. tueke/onimol *
TOTAL NO. OF TUSKS
Foctor: no. tu«ka > limit | I I I I
NO. TUSKS ABOVE LIMIT
r re fr [U [V * x
NO. TUSKS BELOW LIMIT
Total* from box«e X. Y. Z or» carried forward to Form 02.
Form Ql : Estimates of elephant dying in quota year .
1 . Areas containing elephant :
The country should be subdivided into the areas containing elephant
populations. The approach here should be to list as many areas as is
necessary to allow for differences in the factors affecting the elephant
populations. For example, one might begin by listing each National Park,
Game Reserve, and official hunting area, and end with those areas which
have no special status but nevertheless contain elephant. Provision is
made on the form for 25 areas to be listed under AREA OF ORIGIN. In
countries such as Zambia and Tanzania a second sheet may be necessary to
complete the list, and this is provided for: sub-totals from the first
sheet can be brought forward to a second sheet. The lower part of the form
labelled FINAL SHEET ONLY would be completed on the second sheet in
cases such as this. In general it is preferable to subdivide the country
into the smallest units possible at this stage of the exercise.
2. Estimates of elephant populations :
An estimate of the number of elephant in each of the areas listed in
Step 1 should be entered in the column POPULATION ESTIMATE. At the risk
of being tedious, 1 will repeat that any estimate is better than no
estimate, and the fact that accurate numbers may not be known for any
particular area is not a good reason not to make an informed guess.
3. Causes of death :
Under the heading CAUSE OF DEATH there are three subheadings, dividing
elephant mortality into three main classes:
old age, starvation, disease, predation, fighting and
deaths resulting from policy decisions and planned
deaths caused by hunting without official permission.
The section MANAGEMENT has been further subdivided into four types of
management which are defined below:
a ) CULLING
the killing of elephant for conservation reasons. Damage
to habitat is the usual reason for this action. Culling
may take the form of a major reduction to bring the
population to a new lower level, or it may only involve
killing sufficient animals annually to prevent any
further population increase.
the killing of elephant for economic reasons. All
elephant populations can sustain a certain offtake
without declining, and whilst there are no countries
(that I am aware of) practising cropping officially at
the moment, this category may have important
applications in future management.
c) SPORT HUNTING
the killing of elephant as a recreational pursuit. This
category covers both international tourists and local
residents hunting on licences issued by the authorities.
d) CONTROL HUNTING the killing of elephant to protect agricultural crops,
fences and humans.
4 . Estimating numbers killed for each area under each category :
The following are a set of guidelines for estimating the numbers of
elephant which will die under each category of CAUSE OF DEATH. At the end
of each section I have given an arbitrary "rule" for those who require it.
a) NATURAL MORTALITY: At this stage we are interested in predicting the
number of animals which will die naturally during the quota year - whether
or not the tusks from such animals will be recovered. Animals should not
be included here which die from wounding by hunters. To perform this task
in a truly scientific manner it would be necessary to have accurate
figures on the age structure of the population and the age-specific
mortality. It is doubtful if this exists for any elephant population in
Laws et al . (1975) calculated high mortalities for the very dense
population in North Bunyoro (5 - 6.5% overall). Levels such as this
probably only occur in populations which have not been hunted and are
severely in excess of carrying capacity. Douglas-Hamilton (1973) gives a
figure of 10% for mortality at birth and 3-4% thereafter for Lake Manyara
population, which is at a high density. Hanks and Mcintosh (1973) in
models of the Luangwa elephant considered three levels of mortality over
the major part of the age span: low (1%), medium (1.5%), and high (4%).
Natural mortality is generally very low in populations which are hunted,
and this probably applies to most of Africa. In my own work on a sample of
data from a fairly "young" elephant population in the Sengwa Wildlife
Research Area mortalities appear very low: some 2-3% at birth and about 1%
during the major part of life. In an analysis of causes of death from the
elephant deaths register at Kasungu National Park in Malawi, Richard Bell
and I found that tusks recovered from natural mortality amounted to about
1% of the estimated population. The ground coverage in the Park is
relatively high and most deaths could be expected to be recorded.
When a mortality curve which is high at birth and high in the last years
of life is applied to a typical age pyramid of an elephant population what
can be expected? Although mortality is high foi: old animals there are few
of these and they will not contribute that much to total numbers. In the
middle range the mortality is low but numbers are high. Among young
animals numbers and mortality are high, but few carcases are found, being
harder to see and often destroyed by predators. My feeling is that the
best approximation for the purposes of this exercise is to apply a flat
percentage to the total number of animals of the order of about 1%, and
hope to revise this with better information over a period of years.
Rule 1: use 1Z for natural mortality unless you have a better figure.
b) CULLING: Culling of elephant is practised only in Zimbabwe and South
Africa at present and the numbers to be killed are decided largely on a
basis of the relationship between elephant densities and degree of damage
to vegetation. For example, in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, which is a
low rainfall area (400-600 mm), it is considered that vegetation damage
becomes severe wherever elephant densities exceed 1 per sq km and the
current culling programme entails reducing the population from some 18 000
to about 13 000 to achieve this density. The problem is further
complicated by an uneven distribution within the Park caused by water
availability. In the Zambezi Valley a density of 0.7 per sq km is used as
a guideline for culling in the mopane/miombo complexes.
The grounds for culling depend on policy towards the conservation of
woodlands and estimates of "damage" to those woodlands in light of stated
policies. In general, the carrying capacity for elephant declines with
mean annual rainfall and soil fertility.
c) CROPPING: The principles of harvesting elephant populations discussed
earlier in this chapter apply here. The percentages apply to the
population as a whole, not simply adult males.
Rule 2: Do not exceed 0.5% if you are managing for maximum ivory yield.
Rule 3: Do not exceed about 2% if you are killing only adult males.
This should ensure some males reaching the oldest age class.
Rule 4: The maximum sustained yield is about 5% when applied to all
age classes of the population. It is better to kill entire
breeding herds at this level of offtake rather than hunt
d) SPORT HUNTING: Rule 2 above applies to populations in which elephant are
being managed entirely for large trophy tusks.
e) CONTROL HUNTING: Two factors influence the number of animals which are
shot on control hunting. The first is the degree of demand from rural
farmers who want their crops protected, and the second is the limit to
which the authorities are prepared to go in acceding to those demands.
Some countries have a policy whereby males carrying very large tusks may
not be shot on control hunting (e.g. Zimbabwe), while others shoot the
offending animal regardless of sex or size (e.g. Tanzania). In Malawi
funds from the ivory shot on control hunting are used to augment the
departmental budget and there is a strong incentive to hunt animals with
large tusks. The killing of animals for crop protection is frequently the
most wasteful form of resource use and not always the most effective
deterrent to crop-raiding (Bell, 1985a). Such animals could realise far
more through the safari hunting industry, or through being allowed to die
naturally to produce the maximum weight of ivory. However, there is no
doubt that elephant can cause enormous damage to crops, and failure to
respond to demands may lead to illegal hunting. The best method of
estimating figures in this column is to rely on past history of control
hunting in each area listed. It is important that an accurate reporting
system is put in place for this purpose.
Rule 5: To determine estimates for control hunting check the past records
in the ivory register for the area concerned.
f) ILLEGAL HUNTING: The estimation of numbers taken by unlicensed hunters is
difficult, but not impossible. Whilst the ivory from successful illegal
operations will not form part of the legal export quota for a country,
nevertheless it is important to assess the numbers killed because of their
effect on the remainder of the management programme chosen by the country
Animals known to have died from wounding by poachers should be included in
this category (animals dying from wounding in the other management
categories are added to those categories).
Estimates can be made using a knowledge of carcases found in the field, or
by comparing the internal statistics of ivory exports with those from
importing countries, and using the difference as a measure of illegal
hunting. Finally, in the absence of any data, a totally arbitrary guess is
better than nothing: apart from ivory recovered from wounding (above),
illegal hunting will not contribute to the export quota.
5. Number of animals dying in quota ye ar:
The rows and columns of the table should now be summed to give the
following totals in the lettered boxes:
B - Natural mortality.
C - Culling.
D - Cropping.
E - Sport hunting.
F - Control hunting.
G - Illegal hunting.
H - Total of all the above.
This completes the first part of the quota form and now the section
labelled FINAL PAGE ONLY is evaluated. The first stage in this is a
check on the proportion of the population killed in the quota year,
obtained by dividing the number dying by the population estimate
(100 x H/A %). If this is greater or less than desired, it may be
necessary to revise some of the estimates under MANAGEMENT (because this
is the only section over which the authorities exercise control). If the
estimates under ILLEGAL HUNTING are higher than 1 - 2% there may be no
scope for an offtake under MANAGEMENT, and law enforcement is the only
6. Deaths which produce legal tusks:
This total includes only those elephant whose deaths will produce legal
ivory including, for the moment, those who are too young to bear tusks. It
does not include recorded carcases from which the ivory has been illegally
taken. All tusks from animals included in the category will be registered,
stamped and recorded by the authorities. In the cases of culling,
cropping, sport hunting and control hunting all deaths will (or should be)
recorded and the totals in boxes C, D, E & F can be transferred
directly to the row DEATHS WHICH PRODUCE LEGAL TUSKS. Two columns are
not straight-forward and these are dealt with below.
a) NATURAL MORTALITY: It is necessary to multiply the number of animals
dying (Box B) by a Finding Factor to arrive at a total in Box I. In
areas which are well patrolled and most tusks recovered, or where
local residents regularly hand in found ivory to the authorities this
factor could be high (e.g. 0.9): in areas where there is no ground
coverage by wildlife staff or where tusks are found but enter the
illegal trade this factor may be zero.
b) ILLEGAL HUNTING: The only ivory which will be recovered will be from
those animals which are wounded and which are not recovered by the
poachers themselves. The Finding Factor here can only be based on
past experience of the area concerned. It depends both on the amount
of ground coverage and on the proportion of animals which escape from
poachers in a wounded condition and die without being found by them.
In the same analysis referred to earlier for Kasungu National Park,
the number of tusks recovered from animals known to have died by
wounding was approximately half that recovered from natural
mortality: i.e. in the case of Malawi, the factor chosen to multiply
the number of animals killed illegally should be such as to give a
number of tusks in Box J which is half that in Box I.
The best approach in both the above cases is probably to work
backwards from a knowledge of what ivory was recovered in the
previous year from carcases in the field known to have died naturally
and from wounding. These are the final figures in boxes I and J.
The number of animals dying naturally and from wounding must be
estimated by other methods (e.g. assume a natural mortality of 1% of
the population to give the total in Box B). The factor can then be
calculated in retrospect.
Rule 6: Work backwards from totals in Boxes I & J to get finding
Boxes I,C,D,E,F,J are summed to give K - DEATHS WHICH PRODUCE
The number of animals bearing tusks :
This calculation is intended to eliminate from the quota estimate those
animals which have not yet reached an age where their tusks have erupted.
Allowance for tuskless adults should not be made at this stage. This is
very much dependent on the category under which the animal has died, and a
different factor is required for each case. The exception is SPORT HUNTING
where the number can be transferred directly to the next row (Box E).
The following deals with Factor: no. with tusks on the quota form.
a) NATURAL MORTALITY: The highest mortality of young elephant occurs
soon after birth before they have developed permanent tusks. This
would tend to suggest that a high proportion under natural mortality
should not have tusks. However, this is more than compensated for by
the fact that not many carcases of young elephant are found. The
factor for estimating the number of animals dying naturally which
bear tusks could be extracted from an ivory register which records
all elephant deaths, including those of animals without tusks. In the
Kasungu National Park register this is done, and the cases of natural
mortality recorded without tusks is very low indeed. The same applies
to data from SWRA where over a period of some 10 years no more than
4-5 carcases of juveniles were recorded. Such a situation could
change in extreme drought conditions: in 1984 in Mana Pools National
Park, Zimbabwe, a significant number of juvenile deaths was recorded.
My recommendation here is to use a high factor - 0.9 or greater.
[Box L = Box I x Factor]
b) CULLING: In a sample of some 800 animals killed in SWRA which
comprised complete herds and a balanced amount of males the
proportion of animals whose tusks had not yet erupted was 0.15. Thus
the factor giving the number of animals bearing tusks should be about
0.85. [Box M = Box C x Factor]
c) CROPPING: If cropping is carried out in the same manner as culling
the same factor would apply. However, if only adult animals are taken
then the factor becomes 1. [Box N = Box D x Factor]
d) CONTROL HUNTING: The factor here depends largely on the policy in the
country concerned: if young animals are never shot on control then
the factor is 1. If they are occasionally shot then the factor can be
determined from office records. I would expect that very few animals
too young to bear tusks are shot on control in any country, and this
factor could safely be made very close to unity.
[Box = Box F x Factor]
e) ILLEGAL HUNTING: The only reason for inclusion of a factor in this
case is to cover the contingency that amongst the carcases arising
from wounding which are not found by poachers may be some too young
to bear tusks. An example of this would be those who lose their
mothers through hunting and die shortly afterwards. The factor would
be based entirely on previous records from the area concerned. It is
doubtful if it would differ significantly from unity.
[Box P = Box J x Factor]
Box Q is the sum of Boxes L,M,N,E,0,P and gives the total number
of ANIMALS BEARING TUSKS which will be officially recorded.
8. Total number of tusks :
A factor is introduced here to adjust for the number of animals which bear
only one tusk or are tuskless. The occurrence of tuskless animals and
single-tuskers varies from one region in Africa to another, and the
Factor: no. tusks/animal should be appropriate for the area concerned. A
factor derived from a culling sample in the SWRA was 1.92 for both sexes
combined. However, the factor was higher for males (1.98) than for females
(1.88). Rodgers et al . (1978) found a factor of 1.88 for animals in
Tanzania. It is possible that in the case of SPORT HUNTING a higher factor
should be used since fewer single-tuskers are taken than in any other
category. However, all this may be splitting hairs: the result would
probably not be affected greatly if a factor of 2 were used throughout.
This factor is applied to Boxes L,M,N,E,0,P & Q to calculate the new
value of Boxes R,S,T,U,V,W & X, which is the TOTAL NO. OF TUSKS.
9. Minimum weight of tusk for export :
Certain countries have in the past placed limits on the smallest size of
tusk which can be hunted, and used this limit for export. Several of the
Francophone countries still use this system, and in general in countries
where there is a developed internal ivory carving industry there is a
tendency to use the smaller tusks for such industries, and to export the
larger tusks. Pilgram and Western (1984) point out that if hunting is
restricted to a certain minimum size of tusk, the security of elephant
populations is assured. Because of different policies within the ivory
producing countries (discussed in the next chapter) it is not possible at
this stage to introduce a "blanket" minimum size of tusk in the
international ivory trade. However, there is nothing to prevent individual
states enforcing such a limit internally and this section is designed to
cover that contingency.
At the top of Form Ql is a box where the minimum size of tusk for export
can be specified. In order to calculate the number of tusks greater than
this minimum size, provision is made for a Factor: no. tusks ^ limit.
This factor will vary with the source of the tusks, and probably the best
method of estimating it in each case is to extract data from the ivory
registers in each country. The alternative is to arrive at the value for
the factor by a series of approximations over several years in the course
of estimating quotas. The categories are dealt with briefly below:
a) NATURAL MORTALITY: Data from Kasungu National Park give a factor of
0.35 for the number of tusks greater than 1 kg. obtained from natural
mortality. This indicates a very high recovery of small tusks: the
factor is likely to be higher in most countries.
b) CULLING: A sample of 800 animals culled in the SWRA gives the
following factors for the number of tusks greater than various weight
limits. The data include adult males which were present in the
Lower limit for weight Proportion above lower limit
1 kg 0.67
2 kg 0.47
3 kg 0.32
4 kg 0.23
5 kg 0.19
6 kg 0.13
7 kg 0.11
8 kg 0.09
9 kg 0.07
Greater than 10 kg 0.05
c) CROPPING: If carried out in the same manner as culling, the factors
should be the same. If cropping is restricted to adult males and none
under the official limit are killed, the factor is obviously 1.
d) SPORT HUNTING: All tusks should be greater than the legal limit and
the value in Box can be transferred directly to the corresponding
e) CONTROL HUNTING: The Kasungu National Park data show a factor of 0.97
for the number of tusks above 1 kg. However, there is an incentive to
shoot large tuskers on control in Malawi, and this figure is likely
to be lower in other countries.
f) ILLEGAL HUNTING: In the Kasungu data covering animals which have died
from wounding, the factor for tusks greater than 1 kg is 0.93. Note
that this does not include confiscated ivory at this stage.
The total number of tusks greater than the imposed limit is summed in Box
Y (NO. TUSKS ABOVE LIMIT) and the number of tusks under the limit, Box
Z, is derived by subtracting Box Y from Box X. The totals in these
three boxes are transferred to the appropriate boxes on Form Q2 to begin
the second part of the estimate of an export quota.
ESTIMATE OF IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTA
FORM 02: ESTIMATE OF EXPORT IVORY OUOTA
Minimum «xport »»ight of tu«k (if any) V" ~\ Kg.
BELOW LIMIT ABOVE LIMIT TOTAL
TOTAL TUSKS ORIGINATING
FROM AREAS WITHIN COUNTRY
Co~ri»d for-wor-d fr-om For*m 01
ESTIMATE OF CONFISCATED IVORY
ORIGINATING WITHIN COUNTRY
ESTIMATE OF CONFISCATED IVORY
ORIGINATING IN OTHER COUNTRIES
WHICH WILL NOT BE REPATRIATED
IVORY HELD FROM PREVIOUS YEAR
1. GOVERNMENT STOCKS
2. PRIVATE DEALERS
3. PROVISION FOR PERSONAL EFFECTS
EXPORTS BY PRIVATE CITIZENS
TOTAL TUSKS IN YEAR OF OUOTA
TOTAL TUSKS CONSUMED INTERNALLY
TOTAL TUSKS FOR EXPORT
LESS: NUMBER OF TROPHY TUSKS
SPORT HUNTING. Box U on For-m 01
PERSONAL EFFECTS. Box p thi- for-m
NET NUMBER OF TUSKS ENTERING TRADE
Form Q2 : Estimate Of Export Quota
1. TOTAL TUSKS ORIGINATING FROM AREAS WITHIN THE COUNTRY
The three figures from Form Ql are entered into Boxes X,Y & Z. The
titles BELOW LIMIT and ABOVE LIMIT refer to the Minimum export weight
of tusk specified in the box at the top of the sheet.
2. ESTIMATE OF CONFISCATED IVORY ORIGINATING WITHIN COUNTRY
This category is the most difficult to estimate without a crystal ball.
From an examination of the records of various countries it is obvious that
confiscated ivory tends to occur in very large discrete amounts which are
impossible to predict. The problem is that in several countries it forms
the largest part of the export quota, and it makes a mockery of the system
if all the carefully derived estimates from Form Ql are dwarfed by a vast
amount of confiscated ivory. Having been seized by the authorities, such
ivory is obviously legal for export by governments, but obviously no
government wishes to conduct its management on such a basis.
In the discussions I have had in various countries the general consensus
is that it is neither practical nor desirable to include a large provision
for confiscated ivory in the quota estimate. The best solution is an
administrative one, where confiscated ivory is kept separate from the
remainder of the quota and in the event of a large amount being seized, a
provision will be made under the rules of the quota system for the country
concerned to advise the CITES Secretariat after the seizure that the
amount is to be added to the export quota during the quota year.
Nevertheless, hardly any country goes through a year without some minimum
amount of confiscated ivory, and it is this which should be entered in the
appropriate boxes in this section. The estimate can be very simply based
on the minimum or typical figure from the preceding years.
The proportions greater or less than the export limit can be estimated
from an analysis of the ivory register in the country concerned. For
example, in the ivory store at the headquarters in Malawi, 77% of the
confiscated tusks were greater than 1 kg. and 23% were less.
These totals should be entered in Boxes, a,b, & c.
3. CONFISCATED IVORY ORIGINATING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
The same arguments apply as in the last section. Policies towards
repatriating ivory originating from neighbouring countries vary from one
country to another in Africa: a new initiative is afoot among the Central
African states to co-operate in preventing exports of one country's ivory
by another, while in Southern Africa repatriation is unlikely. There have
been proposals for forming a fund from such confiscated ivory to assist
conservation efforts in Africa. This subject is discussed further under
administrative measures. As a matter of policy, it seems unwise to include
a large allocation under this heading in Boxes d,e & f.
4. IVORY STOCKS FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR
1. Stocks held by Government:
The provision here is to cover any tusks remaining from the previous
quota year. The proportions above and below the export limit can be
assessed accurately because the tusks are in government hands. This
information is entered in Boxes g,h & j.
2. Stocks held by private dealers :
It is very important that these are entered into the quota estimate:
any significant amount of ivory in this category has the potential to
cause major problems if it is not taken into account at the outset.
This should apply only to dealers within the country of origin
(discussed further in the next chapter). As in the previous case, the
values for Boxes k,l & m can be precisely estimated.
3. Provision for export of personal effects by private citizens :
This is a small category covering the specific case of a resident of
the country who owns trophy tusks not acquired in the year of the
quota, and who decides to leave the country, exporting his trophies
as personal effects. He will require an export permit for the tusks,
and a provision can be made under this heading in Boxes n,o & p.
Such tusks are extremely unlikely to be smaller than the export
minimum, or to enter the trade.
5. TOTAL TUSKS AVAILABLE IN YEAR OF QUOTA
The figures for Boxes q, r & s are the totals of all boxes above.
6. TOTAL TUSKS CONSUMED INTERNALLY
Provision is made here for the number of tusks which will be used in the
domestic carving industry of the country. The total is made up of all
tusks smaller than the export minimum (Box q) and a certain number of
tusks above the export minimum (Box t). The total of the two is the
amount consumed internally (Box u).
7. TOTAL TUSKS FOR EXPORT
The amount in Box v is derived by subtracting the figure in Box t from
the total number of tusks greater than the export minimum (Box r). This
figure is the final EXPORT QUOTA.
8. NUMBER OF TUSKS ENTERING THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE
The number of tusks entering the trade (Box x) is obtained by
subtracting the number of trophy tusks (Sport hunting - Box D on Form Ql
and Box o on Form Q2) from the total export quota (Box v).
A worked example of Forms Ql and Q2 for Zimbabwe is given in Appendix 12,
KEY FACTORS INVOLVED IN SETTING QUOTAS
In this section I will discuss implications arising from setting quotas which
will affect all countries, and the following section will address those
aspects of quotas which are peculiar to individual countries.
1. It may well be that the method outlined is somewhat daunting. Whatever
methodology is followed by individual countries, provided it addresses the
following important questions it should suffice:
a) How many elephant will die in the country during the quota year?
b) How many tusks will they produce?
c) How many tusks will arise from other sources?
d) How many of these tusks will enter the international trade?
This may appear self-evident, but unless the problem is approached in this
manner, the quota estimates are likely to be of little value.
2. It is necessary for wildlife agencies in each country to consider the
total elephant population in the country, not simply that part of the
resource located within protected areas.
3. It is necessary for the same authorities to take into account the total
stock of ivory in the country, and not just the tusks which will pass
through government hands. The number of tusks held by private dealers and
the carving industries must be recorded. Whilst the quota system for
international trade can do nothing to affect domestic carving industries
in countries, the responsible wildlife agencies themselves should take
into account both internal and export ivory. An export quota which
appears to be well below the minimum which the elephant population can
sustain will be meaningless if the internal carving industry is using a
large amount of ivory which the populations cannot sustain.
A. A vital part of estimating the quota is to understand the various
components which make up the final total. How many of the elephants dying
are the result of positive management by the authorities, and how many
deaths are caused by factors beyond their control? Clearly the objective
must be to bring more and more of the elephant deaths under the heading of
management and reduce the illegal component .
5. By following a process of quota setting such as that outlined, it rapidly
becomes apparent which ivory is bypassing the authorities without being
recorded. This need not necessarily be the tusks arising from illegal
hunting: within many of the administrative systems I encountered it became
obvious that a large part of the ivory trade begins and ends in private
hands without the authorities controlling or monitoring the process at any
stage - and no laws are being broken.
It is essential to regard the inception of the quota system as a move
towards active, adaptive management. In the early stages, it must be fully
accepted that few countries have the information to estimate their ivory
production accurately. However, it is vital that the authorities concerned
are bold enough to make informed guesses at each stage of the estimating
procedure, and accept that these can be improved in the following year. At
the same time, in order to make the improvement, a system of data
recording must be put in place designed to answer those questions which
arose at the first attempt to set a quota.
The question of quota justification was discussed in each of the countries
visited. Would it be adequate to simply advise the CITES Secretariat of a
number, or should the quota be backed up by a statement of how it was
calculated? Most countries were in favour of some sort of standardised
procedure for setting quotas, and after running through the method
outlined felt that they would not be averse to presenting their estimates
on such a form. All countries were particularly mindful of the fact that,
like it or not, their quotas were bound to come under some form of
scrutiny and it might be better to pre-empt questions by a fuller
explanation at the outset. A quota which is simply based on a past record
of exports would be far less acceptable than one justified on grounds of
One advantage in presenting in full the various calculations leading to
the final export quota is that it will clearly demonstrate to non-producer
countries the chief sources of ivory. Many critics of African countries
feel that the exports of raw ivory are largely a result of the number of
hunting permits issued. This is simplistic and ignores the numerous
sources of ivory. Indeed, in all countries visited the smallest part of
ivory exports comes from sport hunting and such tusks do not enter the
international trade. Yet there still seem to be lobbies that are pressing
for hunting bans as the solution to elephant preservation - bans which, if
implemented, will do nothing to reduce the illegal trade and might even
At the start of this chapter, I quoted a passage from the CITES
Secretariat which stated that "for the quota system to be successful,
quotas must be realistic". In each country I have advised against setting
a low quota which is unrealistic in terms of the recent history of ivory
exports. At the same time there is little doubt that in many countries
elephants are being exploited at a rate which far exceeds anything that
the population can sustain. To simply take this as a guide to the size of
quota is shying away from the conservation responsibilities.
I believe that the only sensible approach is to follow a method such as
the one outlined in this chapter, and in all cases of doubt regarding the
correct values to use at each stage of the calculation to adopt a higher
value rather than a lower one. It will serve no purpose to underestimate
the number of animals which will die in the year concerned, and it is
financially irresponsible to cause a situation where, because of a
technical error, ivory may be held in storage to avoid exceeding a stated
quota. However, the final export quota calculated by this method should be
carefully compared with the recent record of exports and if there are vast
discrepancies, or if the result is not that desired by the authorities on
policy grounds, then the procedure should be repeated until a compromise
situation is reached. At least by identifying all the parts of the quota,
there is the opportunity to decide where adjustments can be made. If the
result leads authorities to conclude that their elephant populations were
unnecessarily overexploited in the past then I can see no reason to simply
continue at the same level of exploitation.
EXPORT QUOTAS FOR INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES
I have been asked by the CITES Secretariat to make some estimate of the total
export quota for Africa, and to do this it is necessary to consider the
expected quotas which individual countries will contribute.
I find myself in an invidious position here. In each country I stressed that
it was not my task to set the export quota, and my role was to provide
assistance should it be required. In the "dummy" quota-setting exercises the
approach was mainly to demonstrate the technique, rather than to finalise an
export quota. Now it appears I am about to be dishonourable.
Therefore, I will not reproduce the results of the quota-setting exercises in
each country, but will make my own estimates of quotas. The official
authorities should not feel that my estimates are intended to put pressure on
them, and should only regard my figures as a broad guide. In many cases I may
not have taken into account the policies of the governments concerned, or the
political realities of the situation.
In the time available it is not possible to go through the process demanded by
Forms Ql & Q2 for all countries. The estimates have been made very rapidly,
and attempt only to extract the major features of the quota which might be
expected in each country. The approach I have used is as follows:
a) In the long term, where elephant are being managed for ivory production,
the maximum sustained harvest will be achieved by a low offtake of large
males, coupled with a culling programme of breeding herds if populations
cannot be allowed to increase until they reach stability. However, to
suddenly suggest that all of Africa should stop hunting elephant overnight
is unlikely to find acceptance, and will probably accelerate the illegal
trade. A sounder strategy at this stage would be to try to limit offtakes
to no more than about 2% of populations, which should allow numbers to
increase, and then gradually to reduce the offtake of males over a period
of years. This is provided the range is available for populations of
elephant to increase if it is not, the correct culling strategies will
still produce a high yield. I stress that, contrary to intuitive feelings,
the greatest long term yield of ivory will be provided by a low harvest
of adult males.
b) Bearing in mind the requirements of the consumer countries, I have
deliberately selected for the highest quota possible compatible with the
strategy expressed in a) above. To immediately move to the optimum
strategy of minimum harvest would lead to a slump in ivory production for
several years while elephant populations recovered and large tusks began
to appear in the populations. I have tried to steer a course which allows
some production while populations are recovering.
c) I have separated the quota into a sustained yield, and a surplus which may
appear in the first year of the quota system due to stored amounts of
ivory or culling operations, but cannot be expected to be part of the
quota in following years. These surpluses are present at the time of
writing in February 1985, but may have entered the international trade
before the introduction of the quota system in 1986.
d) As far as possible I have tried to take into account the policies in each
country towards wildlife utilisation. I may have suggested some offtakes
which are incompatible with conservation policies in certain countries,
and if this is so, the final export quota will be lower.
e) I have not included sport hunting in the quota calculations because these
tusks do not enter the international trade. Provided the quota for sport
hunting in each country does not exceed about 0.5% of the population
estimate, this can be accommodated over and above the trade quota without
throwing populations into a decline.
f) Where I have had to make estimates of a weight of ivory for which I have
no data on mean tusk weight I have used the figure of 5.9 kg (rounded to
6 kg) from Caldwell (1984) for tusks entering the trade in Hong Kong and
Japan in 1983. For culling operations I have assumed that 85% of animals
carry tusks and the mean tusk weight is 3 kg based on Zimbabwean data. For
ease of computation, I have assumed that all elephant have two tusks. All
weights given are in kilogrammes.
g) 1 have excluded illegal hunting from the quota, because I have no way of
estimating the extent of it. Parker and Bradley Martin (1982) state that
most tusks which may have illegal origins nevertheless leave Africa with
legal documents. If this is so then they would use a part of the quota in
the exporting country and the remainder of the quota which is determined
by management policies would have to be reduced accordingly.
h) I have not justified the small numbers of tusks I have allocated in some
countries to end of year surpluses, confiscated amounts, or findings from
natural mortality. Parker (1979) estimated the proportion of found ivory
in the Hong Kong trade to be about 20%, but I have assumed lower amounts
in these estimates, because I believe in recent years that natural
mortality will have declined due to intensive hunting. The proportion in
the ivory registers in Malawi and Tanzania was about 1%.
i) It is extremely difficult to set quotas for countries whose declared
policy of elephant exploitation is a total ban on all hunting or a limited
number of trophies for safari hunting, yet whose exports often amount to
hundreds of tonnes. In cases such as this I have allowed a cropping quota
in keeping with the principle discussed in b) above. However, such a
cropping quota is not part of the official policy.
j) It is difficult to take into account the war situations which obtain in
certain countries. In such cases I have simply estimated a quota which
should come into effect when order is restored.
The sequence which follows is in the order of countries in Table 1 and
uses the final population estimates from the same table.
Population: 16 900
West Africa can contribute little to the international trade. At an offtake of
2% it would produce some 700 tusks, all of which would be consumed internally.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
700 tusks weighing 4.2 tonnes.
700 tusks weighing 4.2 tonnes.
Central African Republic
Population: 19 500
At an offtake of 2.1% the production would be 800 tusks per annum weighing 4.8
tonnes. Froment (1985) estimates that the internal carving industry requires
15-30 tonnes each year. Clearly the sustainable production cannot support this
even if the full amount is diverted to the internal industry. There is no
surplus for an export quota.
800 tusks weighing 4.8 tonnes.
800 tusks weighing 4.8 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
Cameroon Population: 12 400
Virtually all of Cameroon's ivory production is used internally, and the
country has not exported since 1981 (Caldwell, 1984). However, the authorities
wish to have a small export quota to provide for the contingency of a surplus,
and to retain an element of competition between the carving industry and
international buyers. At present the artisans use a high proportion of illegal
ivory in their work, and the authorities are introducing measures to reduce
this. Elephant populations in the country may be stable or even increasing
A 2% offtake would produce some 500 tusks. The average weight of confiscated
ivory in the Yaounde store is about 12 kg. and using this figure the annual
production would be 6 tonnes. Allowing 400 tusks for internal use this gives
100 tusks weighing 1.2 tonnes for export each year.
The authorities have some 400 tusks (4.8 tonnes) on hand at present,
assumed that all of this will be exported in 1986.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
500 tusks weighing 6 tonnes.
400 tusks weighing 4.8 tonnes.
400 tusks weighing 4.8 tonnes.
500 tusks weighing 6 tonnes.
This elephant population has been subjected to intense hunting and has few
animals with large tusks. The authorities see the primary need as one of
restoring the population to former levels following the events of the war. Th3
maximum yield for several years should not exceed 2% - preferably less. This
gives only 100 tusks which would be totally absorbed by the internal carving
The authorities believe there are large illegal ivory caches still within the
country following the war, and are considering special moves to recover this
ivory. Assuming their project is successful, they anticipate a minimum of 25
tonnes will be recovered and exported.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
100 tusks weighing 0.6 tonnes.
4000 tusks weighing 25 tonnes.
100 tusks weighing 0.6 tonnes.
4000 tusks weighing 25 tonnes.
Population: 59 000
The Congo exported the following amounts to Hong Kong in recent years:
1979 1980 1981 1982 1983
Mean tusk weight:
Number of animals:
52 754 68 493 117 882
9.8 6.7 6.8
2 692 5 111 8 667
(From Caldwell (1984). I have used the mean tusk weights from Hong Kong and
Japan combined, which may be slightly high.)
The authorities were amazed at these figures, since their own records show a
fraction of the total. There is a high possibility that false certificates of
origin were used to cover Zairian exports.
I have evaluated a possible quota below. It includes a 1% cropping quota which
is based on the "legalised poaching" proposal discussed in the final chapter
of this report.
Av.Wt. Total Wt,
Assume 800 tusks used internally at 6 kg - 4.8 tonnes.
Assume 1200 tusks exported at 10 kg - 12.0 tonnes.
Sustainable quota: 2000 tusks weighing 12 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. zero
Internal industry: 800 tusks weighing 4.5 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 1200 tusks weighing 12 tonnes.
Note: The quota constitutes 1.6% of the estimated population per annum. If
the actual population is as low as 20 000 animals the percentage
offtake rises to 5%, which should still be sustainable.
Population: 1 800
The production on a sustained basis would be less than 100 tusks giving under
a tonne per year. All of this would be consumed internally and the amount has
not been included here.
Population: 48 000
Like the Congo, Gabon is a difficult country for which to estimate a quota.
Gabon's past history of ivory exports is negligible largely because of a large
market in Libreville for worked ivory. If some 35 000 French residents are
estimated to purchase 0.3 kg of worked ivory each, this amounts to 10 tonnes
consumed within the country per year. Residents of Gabon advised me that the
figure was likely to be higher. A significant amount of both raw and worked
ivory enters the country illegally from neighbouring countries.
An offtake of 1000 animals (2.1%) gives an output of 2000 tusks. If it is
assumed that 1800 of these weighing 6 kg are used in the internal industry,
and the balance of 200 at 10 kg are exported this gives a quota of 2 tonnes.
As in the case of Congo, if the population is half that estimated the quota is
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
2000 tusks weighing 12.8 tonnes.
1800 tusks weighing 10.8 tonnes,
200 tusks weighing 2.0 tonnes.
Population: 523 000
Zaire has a hunting ban in effect at present, but this has not prevented a
large amount of illegal hunting. In 1983, Zaire exported 40 tonnes to Hong
Kong, and there may be large amounts of ivory moving into neighbouring
countries. This makes it difficult to calculate a legal quota. Recognising the
de facto situation, a system of "legalised poaching" to replace illegal
hunting was discussed with the authorities in Zaire, and I have included a
0.5% cropping quota to provide for this in the calculations below.
Av.Wt. Total Wt.
TOTALS 4 000
Assume 3 000 tusks used internally at 6 kg - 18 tonnes.
Assume 5 000 tusks exported at 10 kg - 50 tonnes.
Sustainable quota: 8 000 tusks weighing 68 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only: zero
Internal industry: 3 000 tusks weighing 18 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 5 000 tusks weighing 50 tonnes.
Note: This quota is 0.8% of the population: if the number of animals is as
low as 100 000 the proportion only rises to 4%, which should be
The chief source of legal ivory is through confiscation. No culling or
cropping is carried out, and control work is very low. The authorities are not
particularly anxious to promote elephant utilisation for the ivory trade and
licences issued for sport hunting seldom exceed 10 per year. At present there
is a surplus of some 500 tusks in Addis Ababa which I have assumed will be
exported. The quota might be made up as follows.
Av . Wt .
Surplus (1986 only):
(2 main grades are
present in the
Assume 100 tusks used internally at 9 kg - 0.9 tonnes.
Assume 100 tusks exported at 10 kg - 1.0 tonnes,
Surplus 1986 only.
Export quota 1986:
200 tusks weighing 1.9 tonnes.
500 tusks weighing 4.2 tonnes.
100 tusks weighing 0.9 tonnes.
600 tusks weighing 5.2 tonnes.
Population: 28 000
Kenya is unique in having no internal carving industry and no private dealers.
All ivory has to be exported. Ivory arises only from control hunting, natural
mortality and confiscation. Kenya's prime use for elephant is in the tourist
industry, and thus there is little point in calculating a percentage offtake
based on the entire population.
Surplus 1986 only.
Export quota 1986:
1000 tusks weighing 6.0 tonnes.
1000 tusks weighing 6.0 tonnes.
This is 1.7% of the population.
Population: 9 000
A hunting ban has been in effect since 1971 and all private carving industries
and dealings in raw ivory are prohibited. The Government is starting a small
carving industry. The largest part of the Somalia quota is a stock of 40
tonnes held by the Government at present which the authorities intend clearing
in the near future. Future acquisitions of ivory will be used internally and a
sustained yield of 1.1% would give 200 tusks for this purpose.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
200 tusks weighing 1.2 tonnes.
12276 tusks weighing A0 tonnes.
200 tusks weighing 1.2 tonnes.
12276 tusks weighing 40 tonnes.
Population: 32 300
All raw ivory exports were banned in December 1983, although a few private
dealers are fulfilling contracts extending beyond the date of the ban. The
authorities intend to have a fairly large quota in the first year of the
system to clear present stocks, and envisage a low quota thereafter to handle
ivory as it accumulates to Government.
Surplus (1986 only):
Assume 300 tusks used internally at 6 kg - 1.8 tonnes.
Assume 300 tusks exported at 10 kg - 3.0 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only.
Export quota 1986:
600 tusks weighing 4.8 tonnes.
5 000 tusks weighing 30 tonnes.
300 tusks weighing 1.8 tonnes.
5 300 tusks weighing 33 tonnes.
The Sudan population could probably stand a higher offtake, but in this case I
am anticipating the wishes of the authorities who are anxious to restore the
status of the population which has been heavily hunted in recent years, and
consists mainly of young animals. Caldwell (1984) states that some 90% of
exports had a mean tusk weight of 3.9 kg.
Population: 216 000
The level of exploitation appears to be fairly low relative to the rest of
Africa, although the quantity involved in the illegal trade is not known.
Tanzania's total annual exports have been of the order of 10 tonnes in recent
years. A feature of the Tanzanian quota is the large proportion of animals
shot on control - in this respect it differs from all other countries.
Confiscations and recovery of tusks from natural mortality by Government are
I have put together a "maximum" quota which increases exploitation in a number
of areas. I have reduced the number of animals shot on control and replaced
this with a quota of animals cropped for economic reasons (legalised poaching)
in the areas outside National Parks. The mean tusk weight for such cropped
animals is assumed to be 15 kg because of the relatively high conservation
status in the country. I have also included a culling quota for Ruaha National
Park, following Barnes (1983). Barnes recommended a far higher number than is
shown below, but later felt that illegal hunting might perform the necessary
reduction. I have taken the approach that a lower number taken officially in
several successive years might be a better solution. The amount consumed by
the carving industries inside the country is based on a figure of some 7.5
tonnes for Dar es Salaam (Ivory Room data) and an equivalent amount for the
remainder of the country. There are no private ivory dealers: all tusks for
the internal industry come from Government sales.
TOTALS 2 250 4 500 50 000
Surplus(1986-88 only):3 000 5 000 3 15 000
Assume 2 000 tusks used internally at 7.5 kg - 15 tonnes.
Assume 2 500 tusks exported at 14 kg - 35 tonnes
Sustainable quota: 4 500 tusks weighing 50 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. 5 000 tusks weighing 15 tonnes.
Internal industry: 2 000 tusks weighing 15 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 7 500 tusks weighing 50 tonnes.
Excluding culling operations the quota is some 1% of the population, to which
can be added a small percentage for sport hunting.
Uganda Population: 2 000
A 2.5% yield will give 100 tusks which I assume would be consumed internally.
Angola Population: 12 400
The current situation in Angola is uncertain. It is perhaps best to make an
allowance of about 2% to take effect when events return to normal. This gives
250 animals (500 tusks). Assuming 100 tusks are retained in the country (6 kg
mean tusk weight), this gives an export quota of some 400 tusks (4 tonnes at
Sustainable quota: 500 tusks weighing 4.6 tonnes.
Surplus 1986: zero
Internal industry: 100 tusks weighing 0.6 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 400 tusks weighing 4.0 tonnes.
Population: 45 300
Elephant populations are increasing in Botswana. Hunting was banned two years
ago, and the chief source of ivory is from confiscations. As for Tanzania, I
have estimated a "maximum" quota, which includes the possibility of culling in
Chobe National Park, and a cropping quota to satisfy rural needs. Whilst
Government is not holding any significant surplus of ivory at the moment, the
possibility exists of stocks in private hands which have not been taken into
Av.Wt. Total Wt.
Surplus(1986-87 only):2 000
Assume 200 tusks used internally at 10 kg
Assume 800 tusks exported at 10 kg -
Sustainable quota: 1 000 tusks weighing 10 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. 3 400 tusks weighing 10.2 tonnes.
Internal industry: 200 tusks weighing 2 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 4 400 tusks weighing 18.2 tonnes.
Excluding culling operations the quota is some 1.1% of the population.
Malawi Population: 2 400
Malawi consumes most of its production in its own carving industry. The
country might require a quota for occasional large amounts of confiscated
ivory, but it would prefer to advise this as and when necessary. A 2% offtake
would give 100 tusks.
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
100 tusks weighing 1 tonne.
100 tusks weighing 1 tonne.
Population 27 400
As in Angola, it is difficult to plan for Mozambique in the current security
situation. I have assumed a quota of 500 tusks (1.8%), all of which would be
Sustainable quota: 500 tusks weighing 5 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only, zero
Internal industry: zero
Export quota 1986: 500 tusks weighing 5 tonnes.
Population: 2 000
A quota of 2.5% has been estimated. Tusks from Namibia have a lower weight
Surplus 1986 only:
Export quota 1986:
100 tusks weighing 0.5 tonnes.
100 tusks weighing 0.5 tonnes.
Population: 8 000
The population in Kruger National Park is kept more or less constant at 8 000
animals, entailing an annual offtake of about 3%. Occasional large tusks
accrue from natural mortality. A significant amount of the ivory is used in
the carving industries inside the country. I have allowed for some 10 tonnes
of ivory stocks which may be held by private dealers.
Av . Wt .
Assume 450 tusks used internally at 3.3 kg - 1.5 tonnes.
Assume 50 tusks exported at 20 kg - 1.0 tonnes.
Stocks held by private dealers: 1 000 tusks at 10 kg - 10 tonnes,
Sustainable quota: 500 tusks weighing 2.5 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. 1000 tusks weighing 10 tonnes.
Internal industry: 450 tusks weighing 1.5 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 1050 tusks weighing 11 tonnes.
Population: 58 000
If the population data are correct in 1981 and 1985, Zambia has lost 100 000
elephant in the space of 4 years. This seems unlikely. The Hong Kong trade
figures for 1983 show that Zambia exported only 10 tonnes, and Zambia's own
statistics for the same year show 10 tonnes exported to the U.K. which may
have been re-exported to Hong Kong. Stocks on hand in the Government store at
the end of 1982 were 10 tonnes, so that this is consistent. One can only
conclude that there are either more elephant in Zambia than 58 000 or that
earlier population estimates were too high or that massive illegal hunting
involving some 30 000 elephant per year has escaped detection. The last
possibility is the least credible: firstly, the numbers are beyond the
capability of highly professional culling teams, and secondly it would be
almost impossible to conceal a slaughter of such magnitude. I would opt for an
explanation that the population is slightly higher than estimated, and perhaps
earlier estimates were too high.
Nevertheless, all is not well with Zambia's elephant population. The largest
part of Zambian exports comes from confiscated ivory, and if the record held
in the ivory store can be taken as a representative sample, then it appears
that Zambia's ivory harvest has changed recently from a few large tusks to
many small tusks. This situation suggests the scenario depicted by Pilgram and
Western (1984) of a constant (or increasing) annual harvest with selective
elimination of the larger animals.
Grade I (tusks over 10 kg)
Grade II (6-10 kg)
Grade III (less than 6 kg)
In 1980 the bulk of the stock was made up of 215 tusks averaging 25 kg. In
1984 this had changed to 2996 tusks averaging 2.5 kg. Within each grade the
mean tusk weight has changed. Grade I tusks are now fewer and hardly exceed
10 kg; Grade II tusks which used to lie close to the upper limit of 10 kg
average 6.7 kg, and Grade III tusks are now 2.5 kg versus 3.8 kg four years
Zambia introduced a hunting ban in 1982 and revoked all carving industries and
dealers' licences in 1984. Accepting the current population estimate, the
following is a maximum quota estimate. The cropping quota is based on a 1%
harvest of populations outside the National Parks (14 000 animals), control
hunting is low (the cropping quota should include most control hunting), and
confiscations are reduced (legalised cropping should reduce illegal hunting).
The average weight of confiscations is based on the 1984 data above.
TOTALS 1 500
Surplus (1986 only):
Assume 1 000 tusks used internally at 2.4 kg - 2.4 tonnes.
Assume 2 000 tusks exported at 5 kg - 10.0 tonnes.
Sustainable quota: 3 000 tusks weighing 12.4 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. 3 400 tusks weighing 10.4 tonnes.
Internal industry. 1 000 tusks weighing 2.4 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 5 400 tusks weighing 20.4 tonnes.
The quota is some 2.5% of the population caused largely by the amount of
confiscations. A lower quota would be preferable, but this can only be
achieved by reducing illegal hunting.
Population: 49 000
Zimbabwe decided in 1983 to reduce its elephant population over a number of
years to some 33 000 for conservation reasons. Some 6 000 elephant were
removed in 1984, and 7 000 are scheduled to be removed in 1985. The following
quota is based on a sustained yield from the final population (33 000), which
includes provision for culling an annual population increment of about 3% and
a large temporary surplus due to the major population reduction.
TOTALS 1 200 2 100 9 100
Surplus(1986-87 only):7 000 11 900 3 35 800
All tusks from the final sustained yield will be used internally.
Sustainable quota: 2 100 tusks weighing 4.3 tonnes.
Surplus 1986 only. 11 900 tusks weighing 35.8 tonnes.
Internal industry: 2 100 tusks weighing 4.3 tonnes.
Export quota 1986: 11 900 tusks weighing 35.8 tonnes.
The quota is some 3.6% of a final population of 33 000 animals, which should
ensure no further increase.
A QUOTA FOR AFRICA
Quota derived from individual countries
The totals which follow from the preceding section are as follows:
A long term harvest based on a strategy which uses 1-3% of the population in
the various producing countries, and which will allow populations to increase
slowly, is 227.8 tonnes arising from 29 000 tusks from 14 700 animals. This
amounts to 1.2% of Africa's elephant population of 1 183 900 animals.
Of the above amount, 84.1 tonnes (14 250 tusks) is required for internal
consumption in Africa's carving industries.
The balance of 143.7 tonnes (14 750 tusks) is available for export.
In addition to the above, there should be a further 185.4 tonnes (45 576
tusks) which can be added to the export quota in the first quota year. This
arises from present stocks of ivory being held on the continent and proposed
culling operations which will not be sustained.
Rounding the above figures:
TOTAL SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION 29 000 TUSKS (228 TONNES)
deduct CONSUMPTION WITHIN AFRICA 14 000 TUSKS ( 84 TONNES)
NET SUSTAINABLE EXPORT QUOTA 15 000 TUSKS (144 TONNES)
add TEMPORARY SURPLUS (1986) 46 000 TUSKS (185 TONNES)
EXPORT QUOTA (1986) 61 000 TUSKS (329 TONNES)
Quota derived directly from the total population estimate
Assuming a round figure of one million elephants in Africa, the outcomes of
different harvesting levels can be calculated. I have used a mean tusk weight
of 6 kg (Caldwell, 1984; from the combined imports to Japan and Hong Kong in
1% harvest gives 10 000 animals or 20 000 tusks weighing about 180 tonnes.
2% harvest gives 20 000 animals or 40 000 tusks weighing about 240 tonnes.
3% harvest gives 30 000 animals or 60 000 tusks weighing about 360 tonnes.
From the earlier arguments in this chapter it should be apparent that to
exceed a 3% harvest under the present methods of selective hunting from
elephant populations in Africa will lead to a lower harvest in the long
term. A harvest of 5% under selective hunting might be sustained, but would be
highly undesirable. It would lead to further reductions in the mean tusk
weight and bring populations to a vulnerable point where the slightest
increase would precipitate a major downward trend. Furthermore, not all of
Africa's elephant populations are available for this form of exploitation:
many are in National Parks where the declared policies do not allow harvesting.
The decline in mean tusk weight in the ivory trade is a clear indication that
a directional process is taking place. Parker and Bradley Martin (1983)
examined the implications of this decline for the years 1979-82, and concluded
that it was greatly influenced by events in the Sudan. Their figures for the
mean tusk weight are slightly higher than those computed by Caldwell (1984)
who shows a further low mean tusk weight of 5.9 kg in 1983. However, this
syndrome can no longer be attributed to Sudan only: many other countries are
suffering a similar decline [e.g. Zambia (see previous section), and C.A.R.
(Froment, 1985)]. This suggests that the upper age classes in elephant
populations are being exploited beyond a sustainable level (Pilgram et al.,
Strategies to Improve the situation
At the conclusion of the models which I discussed earlier in this chapter, I
mentioned that the set of parameters which fitted all aspects of the 1983
situation in the ivory trade was as follows. The current population should be
about 800 000 animals declining at a rate of 1.8%, of which 70 000 animals are
being harvested to produce some 750 tonnes of ivory at a mean tusk weight of
6 kg. At the current rate of exploitation the population will crash very
quickly (10 years). [SEE FOOTNOTE]
The next logical question for modelling is "to what level must the harvest be
reduced in order to reverse the decline?". I have tested this out by switching
to a new level of harvesting at the point in the model when it has reached the
1983 conditions. I find that it can just sustain a harvest of 380 tonnes but
takes some 50 years to recover or stabilise at the new rate. At lower harvest
levels, if we take the time to recover to one million animals as a yardstick,
a yield of 350 tonnes will allow recovery in 25 years, 300 tonnes in 10 years,
250 tonnes in 7 years, and 200 tonnes in 5 years. In the last case the rate of
growth of the population when it passes the one million mark is over 4%. At
this stage culling strategies might be considered. The necessary level to
which the offtake must be reduced in the case of the 300 tonne harvest is
26 000 animals, and in the case of the 200 tonne harvest it is 18 000 animals
- which is more or less 1.5 - 2.5% of the population.
Now, the foregoing is all very well but it assumes that Africa's elephant
populations constitute one large herd which is being subjected to the same
harvesting conditions throughout. This is not so. Populations vary from the
well conserved to those in dire trouble. The master plans for protected areas
in many countries do not provide for a high offtake of ivory to satisfy the
trade. What we are watching in modelling the ivory trade statistics is nothing
resembling the true process in Africa. If some populations are well conserved
it means that others must be contributing more than their share to the
harvest. This indeed seems to be the case. The 750 tonnes per annum of raw
ivory is coming from a series of effective extinctions of elephant populations
in different countries in Africa. It appears as if Sudan, Chad, Central
African Republic and the Congo who have recently exported massive amounts of
ivory are going through this process.
If the above is true then it is not sensible to look at Africa as a whole in
setting a global ivory quota as I have done at the start of this section: the
only logical course to follow is that of considering the individual countries.
Some have populations in healthy states and can contribute a large amount to
the ivory trade: others need a total moratorium on all hunting. When all
countries are lumped together the overall mean figures suggest that an offtake
not exceeding 3% of the total population is as far as harvests should be taken.
The situation would be greatly improved with positive management strategies. I
have shown that at the level of one million animals it is not difficult to
produce 750 tonnes of ivory on a sustained basis, but it does mean adopting
scientific strategies of culling as opposed to the present uncontrolled
harvest. Pilgram and Western's (1984) findings that the natural mortality of a
stable population is a maximum harvest may also be applicable in protected
NOTE: Since this report was completed in" March 1985, Caldwell (1985) has
revised the volume of ivory which entered the international trade in 1983 to
644 tonnes and the figure for 1984 is 357 tonnes. The estimated mean tusk
weight is now higher at 7.2 kg.
It may seem impractical to implement either a culling strategy or that of
waiting for natural mortality to produce the harvest from stable populations.
The culling option will be unacceptable to many government authorities and
private conservation organisations; the non-hunting strategy may be acceptable
to both of these groups but totally rejected by the poacher. It is essential
to define objectives for the management of elephant populations, and such
objectives must be within the realms of feasibility to achieve. But one thing
is certain: whether the objective is to promote elephants for tourist viewing,
or to maximise a return of ivory for trade, the present system of management
in general in Africa is achieving neither of those objectives. Pilgram and
Western (1984) point out that a substantial decline in the number of elephants
is to the long term advantage of no one involved in the ivory trade, whether
it is the producers, traders or artisans carving ivory. Equally well one might
add that it is not the wish of governments and conservationists.
Parker and Bradley Martin (1983) argue that human increase is the driving
factor determining the decline of elephant. With a human population growth
rate of about 3%, elephant range is declining steadily. I do not argue with
this: the question is whether elephant populations are declining faster than
they need to in order to make land available for humans. In the Central
African Republic an area of some 200 000 sq km in the east of the country is
virtually uninhabited, yet the elephant are being heavily hunted throughout
the area. Gangs of Sudanese travel great distances on horseback to hunt
elephant, and poachers camps are established in the depths of the area for
months at a time. The exports from C.A.R. in recent years are sufficient
evidence of a rate of exploitation far exceeding human population growth. The
Congo and Gabon are large countries with very low populations (under 2 million)
in relatively large areas (over 250 000 sq km). Indeed, in these countries the
net flux of humans is into urban areas and rural densities are declining. The
mere fact that illegal hunting takes place in certain National Parks is an
indication in general that forces in addition to a need for land are driving
Perhaps it is a mistake to separate the simple land hunger aspect of the
problem from the broader issues of the economic situation. With the population
increase in Africa accompanied by economic decline, there has arisen a large
sector of the population who are in severe financial straits and who have to
be opportunistic for survival. Ivory provides a partial solution to their
problem. Better managed, it could provide far more. Parker and Bradley Martin
argue that the future of the elephant lies in a series of National Parks, and
it may very well be that the present situation is leading to that end.
However, it is a pity that it should be so in large parts of Africa where
there are adequate areas to support elephant profitably for many years to come
without conflict with humans.
The economic arguments for conserving elephant should not be advanced too far.
Elephant farming as a form of land use is not compatible with human
agriculture and generally not as profitable, particularly when the current
government policies in Africa are aimed at a state monopoly of all wildlife.
Perhaps the only place outside of National Parks where there is a justifiable
role for elephant is in marginal land, and in areas which are not yet required
for human settlement. Pilgram and Western (1984) argue that present strategies
for harvesting elephant are economically unsound, but care should be exercised
here too. The logical conclusion to such arguments is given by Clark (1976).
Elephant can be regarded as a living form of capital (large grey dollar notes)
and as long as they are allowed to roam free outside of a bank., the maximum
return on such capital is about 5% - their rate of increase. It appears sound
economics to take all the capital in one fell swoop and put it in a bank where
it will earn 10% interest, rather than let it continue to be unprofitably
invested. Certainly this is the short term view of the poacher who competes
with other poachers for the resource. However, slick as Clark's argument is,
it does not fully cover all aspects. It ignores the matter of capital
appreciation: dollar notes which are sitting in a bank vault do not appreciate
as capital, whereas the elephant population which is alive and using the land
does. The living asset is similar in some ways to the ownership of a house; it
provides a real security which defies economic fluctuations. It ignores also
the new cost of a substitute for the product, and if a substitute cannot be
found, then cost must be measured in loss of employment of people dependent on
the resource. In general, bank rates are lower than inflation rates so that
any apparent improvement in form of interest on capital may be illusory. The
centralisation of capital caused by putting the value of elephant in a bank is
not an economic improvement in terms of distribution of wealth. Where the
living resource could provide dividends to many people, dead it benefits only
a few. Finally, the aesthetic value of living elephant has been left out of
the equation, and this too has a real worth.
All governments in Africa have declared policies to conserve elephant, which
are generally not founded on economic theories. The quota system has arisen
from within Africa as one step towards achieving that goal. It would be naive
to think that overnight the mere declaration of a figure is going to save the
lives of any elephant. It represents rather a wish to see a certain state of
management in place. I find myself caught on the horns of a dilemma in having
to recommend a certain quota for Africa. I have been counselled that if the
quota is too low it will achieve nothing but to send the trade underground:
equally well it is against all management principles to recommend too high a
quota if the estimates for elephant numbers are correct and the present age
structures of populations are as unbalanced as the evidence suggests. The only
valid approach I feel I can take is to recognise the sincerity of the
government technical authorities in each country in their stated wishes to set
a quota which will not overexploit elephant, and recommend to the best of my
technical ability the upper limits of such a quota.
I don't believe it is possible to reach the ideal management programme in one
or two years and for that reason I have recommended a gradual reduction in the
quota as the age structures of the populations are restored and the yield of
ivory increases. I have pointed out an alternative management programme which
will produce more ivory in the long term by keeping elephant populations in a
state of maximum growth and culling them to prevent their numbers from
exceeding a certain limit.
What will be the outcome at the end of 1986 if, as a result of declaring
quotas which are far lower than the amount of ivory actually harvested, quotas
are greatly exceeded or there are large stocks of ivory waiting for the
following year to obtain permits from the governments concerned? This assumes
that the owners of the ivory have not already found an alternative way to
export it. Perhaps the question should be asked in another way. What should a
government do when confronted with a situation which conflicts with its own
declared policy? Either it must implement the policy using the full force of
the legal system at its disposal, or it must recognise the impossibility of
implementing its policy and look for alternative methods to achieve the same
goal in a manner more acceptable to its population at large. This is discussed
further in the next chapter on administration.
I am deeply conscious of the dangers inherent in perpetuating a sense of
crisis in this volatile, highly charged issue of the ivory trade. Parker
(1982) has pointed out the considerable damage which has been done to
conservation by such actions. I prefer to align myself with the statement made
by Pilgram and Western (1984a): "If it would be premature to view our results
with alarm, it would nevertheless be unreasonable not to view them with
concern." In the countries I have visited, I don't believe there is much
danger of extinction of elephant, even locally, in the immediate future.
Parker (1984) has pointed out that even in those countries where elephant
should theoretically be extinct on the basis of human densities, some survive
in refuges and appear to be finally exempt from man's predation. I feel
strongly, however, that a great deal more could be done to improve the
management of those elephant surviving in countries which have not yet reached
the point where human densities exclude extensive elephant ranges.
This chapter deals with administrative aspects of the ivory trade with
particular reference to the proposed quota system. I have allowed myself to
address some administrative matters outside the confines of the quota system
where I believe that these are important to elephant conservation. The chapter
is divided into three main sections:
- which deals with procedures necessary for the export of ivory from
producer countries to other continents and other countries in Africa.
- which deals with internal administrative procedures which will not be
addressed by the rules binding CITES Party states, but are nevertheless
important to the working of the ivory trade and the quota system.
- which is a report on my visit to each country, and deals mainly with the
specific policies and administrative practices of those countries.
This chapter has been revised to take into account the results of the
proceedings of the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES which
was held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in April/May 1985. The original report
was presented at the meeting.
Before discussing administrative procedures it is worth considering the
various ways that illegal ivory may arise, and the extent to which the quota
system may reduce these. Many people feel, that the international trade in
ivory is the major factor responsible for the decline in elephant numbers, and
that, if this could be brought under control, the future of elephant would be
assured. This is not necessarily so.
a) Elephant may be illegally killed for ivory which is sold inside the
producer country and used in the domestic carving industry.
b) Illegal ivory may be exported without documentation, either bypassing
customs or through corrupt officials, and it may enter the importing
country in the same manner. Export of ivory in diplomatic baggage is an
example of this.
c) Illegal ivory may receive CITES permits from a corrupt official in a
producer country and be exported under the quota system. To some extent
the referral procedures agreed upon in Buenos Aires may address this
d) If an inflated quota is submitted by a producer country it may "launder"
excess ivory from neighbouring countries and/or its own ivory which
exceeds any reasonable amount from management. This would require a
generally corrupt agency immune to world opinion.
e) Illegal ivory may be used for a barter trade within Africa, with no
immediate concern for international export (see Individual Countries -
Malawi, this chapter).
f) Elephant may be illegally killed for meat or protection of crops and the
tusks arise as a totally secondary issue.
The quota system will have little or no effect on any of the above causes of
elephant mortality. Only law enforcement and responsible administration within
the producer countries can reduce this illegal traffic.
The area within which the quota system may be most effective in limiting the
illegal trade will be in those cases where the illegal traders are attempting
to operate within the existing framework of rules for export established
within the CITES forum.
Most of the following procedures are contained in the Resolution of the
Conference of the Parties (Appendix 11), and where this is the case I have
referred to the Resolution as Conf. 5.12 and used the reference letter for the
particular paragraph (e.g. Conf. 5.12 - a). A further document which enlarges
on the role of the CITES Secretariat, Doc. 5.22.1 (Rev.), is given in the same
1. Ivory producing countries to set quotas (Conf. 5.12 - a, c & e)
All countries approved of this proposal and understood that according to
the Resolution they would be required to advise the CITES Secretariat in
writing of their quotas by 1 December prior to the start of the quota
year. It was agreed that if the quota was not submitted by the deadline
ivory would not be exported until the condition had been satisfied.
2. Only countries with elephant populations to have quotas (Conf. 5.12 - a)
This is implicit in the above statement but I have deliberately emphasized
it separately. Every country I visited felt very strongly that a country
without elephant could not have a quota. Burundi was referred to time and
time again as a country with no elephant which laundered ivory from its
neighbours. This would apply not only to African countries but also to
free ports (such as Jeddah and Djibouti). Such ports accept illegal
ivory with forged certificates of origin from producer countries and grant
export permits. Sudan has been a victim of such practices.
3. Quotas to be stated as a number of tusks (Conf. 5.12 - a)
This is a key point. One country which I visited felt the quota should be
set by weight but finally agreed to a number of tusks. The purpose of the
quota system is to limit the number of animals dying annually and clearly
this must be done on the basis of a simple index such as tusks. The system
provides the incentive to export only tusks of a high weight in order to
maximise the earnings from a given quota, and this should be beneficial
for elephant populations.
4. Export permits from countries with quota (Conf. 5.12 - b)
Export permits for raw ivory from such countries will be regarded as a
necessary and sufficient condition for their import into non-producer
countries. This clause is specifically directed at countries who attempt
to introduce legislation affecting ivory imports which is over and above
the requirement established in the CITES forum. All countries I visited
deprecated the recent moves by the EEC and Australia to introduce internal
legislation over and above the requirements established by CITES and felt
that it weakened the whole CITES structure.
5. Role of the CITES Secretariat (Conf. 5.12 - d)
a) Monitoring the Ivory Trade
The quota system will not be workable unless the entry of tusks into the
trade is continuously monitored throughout each quota year. It would be
impractical to expect that customs offices or CITES Management Authorities
could effectively implement the system at the entry points to importing
countries. It would be of little value to wait until the end of the year
to examine the final export quotas as indicated by annual reports of Party
states. The Ivory Unit proposed in Doc. 5.22.1 (Rev.) by the CITES
Secretariat may solve the monitoring difficulties. A central data base
will be maintained which contains the numbers of all tusks in trade and
the Unit will be notified by exporting countries of full permit details
whenever a shipment of ivory is authorised for export.
b) Referral Procedures
The referral procedures incorporated into Doc. 5.22.1 (Rev.) should
greatly reduce the number of cases of ivory shipments entering importing
countries with incorrect or fraudulent documentation. There have been
several recent instances where ivory shipments have entered consumer
countries on export permits not granted by the CITES Management
Authorities in the country of origin. I exclude legitimate cases of
re-export from this. I was informed of cases where export permits for
Sudanese ivory were granted in a free port on the strength of false
certificates of origin. There have also been cases where export permits
issued by the CITES Management Authority in the country of origin for
small amounts of raw ivory have been altered to cover large shipments.
Sudan has one clearly documented case of a permit for 2 tonnes being
altered to 62 tonnes.
The measures agreed upon by the producer Party states at Buenos Aires
could limit further occurrence of such cases. Copies of all export permits
issued by producer countries will be sent to the CITES Ivory Unit and to
the CITES Management Authority in the importing country before the
shipment in question is admitted to the importing country. This will allow
permits to be valid! fied before a shipment is cleared by customs, and
should deal with cases where export permits are issued by a free port
without the knowledge of the Management Authorities.
No importation should be allowed without the prior approval of the CITES
Management Authority in the exporting country, either directly or via the
CITES Secretariat. This might seem to contradict paragraph b) in
Conf. 5.12 covering export permits, but all that is intended is a system
of cross-checking prior to completion of import formalities. Such a
process of referral need not delay the import significantly if it is taken
into account at the time a private dealer initiates import procedures and
if the flow of documentation and information is in accordance with the
measures agreed in Buenos Aires. The practice is used by many countries
for all exports of live animals.
All producer states were adamant that the role of the Secretariat in
handling referral procedures should be primarily that of assisting
producer countries. Any connotation of the Ivory Unit regulating the trade
was not acceptable.
c) Circulation of a List of Quotas
The Secretariat will circulate a list of quotas to all Party states early
in the quota year. I found that most producer countries were anxious to
see the quotas set by other producer countries. There is concern in the
central African states that high or low quotas set by their neighbours
will influence the movement of illegal ivory between states.
d) Quota System Manual
I asked in each country whether it was felt desirable to submit quotas to
the CITES Secretariat using standardised forms and a methodology such as
that provided in this report. Most countries approved of the idea, and
were not averse to having their quota calculations open for inspection.
The majority of countries asked that the methodology was written in the
form of a handbook for their reference at the time of setting quotas.
The Secretariat has agreed to prepare a manual for circulation to all
Party states (and non-Parties) which outlines guidelines for setting
quotas and procedures to be followed for trade in ivory following the
acceptance of Resolution Conf . 5.12.
6. Marking of tusks (Conf. 5.12 - f)
More than half of the countries visited were not marking tusks in
accordance with Resolution Conf. 3.12 which specifies that metal punches
must be used to stamp the code letters for the country of origin, the
serial number of the tusk, the year of export, and the weight of the tusk
at the lip line of the tusk and this should be indicated with a flash of
colour. Many were allowing the export of totally unmarked tusks, or tusks
which had been marked by private exporters rather than government
In discussions with numerous people on the subject I found many who were
of the opinion that an indelible felt tip pen provided as good a mark as
that of a metal punch die and was considerably easier to read.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Conf. 3.12 for metal punch dies, I feel
that clear markings which provide the information demanded by Conf. 3.12
should be accepted. [This is not to say that I approve of the disregard of
the stipulations of Conf. 3.12: I feel that countries who are not abiding
by the agreement should come forward with a resolution to alter it.]
Unmarked or irregularly marked tusks should not be accepted by any
importing country. A key feature of the proposals arising from Buenos
Aires is the maintenance of a data bank by the CITES Secretariat which
contains the registration numbers of all tusks in trade. Without a
properly implemented marking system adhered to by all producer and
non-producer countries which hold stocks of raw ivory the quota system
cannot be effectively implemented.
Importing countries cannot be expected to know which tusks have been
marked by the CITES management authorities of the exporting country and
which have been illegally marked by a private citizen. There is a need to
develop a specific mark for tusks, in addition to the information required
under Conf. 3.12. This mark, be it a distinctive punch die with a symbol
peculiar to the country, or a transfer which cannot be removed, should be
held only by the management authority and unavailable to all other people.
The suggestion has been made that the number of tusks in the quota for a
country be included in the marking on each tusk. After due consideration
and discussions with many people I do not recommend this. Firstly, it
demands a large amount of work to mark the same quota number on hundreds
of tusks. Secondly, where ivory is exported first to an intermediate
country and held until a later quota year this will lead to confusion and
possible rejection of legal shipments. In countries where tusks can be
legitimately exported from more than one centre, at the start of the quota
year blocks of numbers will have to be allocated to each of such centres
for their use during the quota year. If the purpose of marking the quota
on the tusk were to monitor the progress in exports during the year, then
the above situation would render the exercise meaningless: it would be
impossible to tell from the number stamped on the tusk how many tusks had
been exported at any stage during the year.
I have considered systems which include additional data on tusks such as a
code letter for cause of death and a code indicating whether the tusk is
whole or a piece of a tusk. Richard Bell (pers. comm. ) has developed this
further with ideas which could provide a large amount of information for
monitoring and administration of the ivory trade both internally and
internationally. However, it is largely the responsibility of producer
countries to extract such information as part of the quota setting system
(this is discussed further in the next section). There is very little
point in developing more elaborate marking systems until all countries are
implementing the recommendations of Conf . 3.12.
7. Date stamped on tusks and date of export permit
Importing countries should only accept shipments where the date of the
export permit coincides with the year of the quota established for the
country concerned (Conf. 5.12 - g).
An important point arises here. In many countries tusks are routinely
stamped according to CITES Conf. 3.12 as soon as they are acquired. This
means that they may be stamped with a year which is prior to the current
quota year and a number which bears no relation to the quota. Many of
these tusks may never be exported but will enter the internal market. If
the quota system is to work it will be impractical to require that every
tusk exported is stamped with the current year and a serial number lower
than the quota for that year.
The present tusk marking system should be applied as it has been since
1981, and the number marked on the tusk will bear no relevance to the
quota system. The data bank maintained by the CITES Ivory Unit will be the
main check on duplicate or fraudulent tusk numbers.
8. Re-export of raw ivory
It is important to define clearly at what stage a tusk shall be deemed to
have been exported. The following options exist:
When it has left the country of origin.
When it has left Africa.
When it has reached the country in which it will be worked.
The only practical option is the first. The restrictions of the proposed
quota system will only be applied once and that is on the first occasion
when the tusk leaves the country of origin and enters another country,
wherever that country is located in the world. All other movements of the
tusk will be treated as re-export and re-imports.
Consider the hypothetical situation where an ivory dealer in South Africa
imports a tusk from Zimbabwe and satisfies all procedures required in a
given quota year (say 1986). If the dealer then decides to hold that tusk
for several years before re-exporting it to Hong Kong, what requirements
under the quota system for the year concerned (say 1989) should he be
required to satisfy? The tusk, clearly should not be counted as part of the
quota for Zimbabwe in 1989, and neither should it be part of the South
African quota for 1989. The dealer should only be required to prove that
the tusk was acquired from Zimbabwe legitimately in the year of the 1986
quota. For this he would require copies of the original export and import
permits. The same would apply to any further re-exports of the tusk. There
is the danger this may be used as a method to export illegal ivory. The
responsibility lies with the government office handling the export to
check, that the original documents are not false, and that those original
documents have not been used for a prior export. If there are any doubts
about the export, the referral procedures discussed in subsection 5
provide a final check.
9. The quota system applied to non-Party states (Conf. 5.12 - h)
The non-Party states which I visited (Somalia, Ethiopia and Chad) were
willing to abide by the procedures of the quota system.
10. Trade in worked ivory (Conf. 5.12 - j)
I recommend that CITES abandon all attempts to regulate or monitor the
import and export of worked ivory, notwithstanding the provision for the
continuance of the practice in the Resolution of the Conference of the
Parties. I justify and qualify the recommendation below:
a) This was recommended by Parker (1979, page 225).
b) Good law should be workable (CITES Doc. 3.10.4). The present
procedures for worked ivory are not workable and are resulting in
much paperwork which contributes little to elephant conservation and
weakens the effort most needed - the control of the traffic in raw
c) The control of the worked ivory trade is essentially a domestic
problem which international legislation cannot address. A country may
choose to back its internal efforts to regulate the worked ivory
trade with CITES documentation, but should not expect this to affect
any other country (e.g. Zimbabwe does this simply to assist tourists
leaving the country, and to elevate the status of ivory within the
country). The worked ivory trade can only be controlled within Party
. states .
d) I am aware that one of the chief reasons for continuing to enforce
controls on the trade in worked ivory is because of the problem with
ivory from the Asian elephant which is included in CITES Appendix I.
The above point applies: it is up to the Indian authorities to solve
the problem internally. Their failure to do so is putting the
remainder of the world to considerable inconvenience.
e) The term worked ivory should follow the definitions of Conf. 3.12 and
not include polished tusks or pieces of ivory which are incompletely
worked. Private dealers in C.A.R. are exporting small polished tusks
as "works of art" in order to circumvent their domestic legislation
which requires that all raw tusks exported weigh more than 10 kg.
Dealers in Sudan are cutting ivory in small cylinders suitable for
the manufacture of seals and exporting these as worked ivory to
circumvent the government ban on raw ivory exports from Sudan.
11 . Minimum size of tusk In the trade
There should be no restriction on the minimum size of tusk admitted to the
international trade. Whilst I appreciate that efforts to introduce this
limit are motivated by a desire to conserve elephant, it is not practical
for the following reasons:
a) Certain countries obtain tusks from all age classes of elephant
through legitimate culling programmes, and often prefer to export
such tusks rather than have the problem of monitoring their progress
through the internal carving industry within their own countries.
b) Animals with small tusks die naturally.
c) Certain countries have banned all ivory dealing and carving within
their borders and have the limited options of destroying such tusks
or exporting them.
d) A significant sector of the worked ivory industry in consumer
countries deals exclusively with small tusks and it seems illogical
to ignore the market which they provide.
e) Placing a limit on the size of tusk which can be exported is unlikely
to produce the desired effect - that only elephants with tusks larger
than that size will be killed. In all the central African states
which I visited small tusks are used in the domestic carving
industries and such tusks are largely illegally obtained. The
international trade cannot address this issue: it is solely dependent
on the internal administration and law enforcement of the producer
f) Many producer countries have set a limit on the minimum size of tusk
themselves, both for hunting and for export. This is the only
practical way in which a threshold size of tusk can be enforced.
12. Export of small tusks and pieces of ivory
In all countries I visited there was general agreement that it was
impractical to stamp small tusks and chips of ivory. Frequently the small
tusks turn into ivory chips when they are subjected to the impact of the
metal punch die. Such small items are numerous yet add up to a trivial
part by weight of the international trade. The completion of documentation
for them is tedious and in justified. All producer countries would prefer
to see a system which permitted pieces of raw ivory and small tusks which
weigh less than 1 kg each to be exported in lots with the number of pieces
and the total weight of the consignment being stated on the export permit.
Each lot would have to be discrete: that is that for every crate or box
containing such pieces the weight and number would be given separately
from any other lot. Both the number of entire tusks and the number of
broken pieces within the lot would be stated.
The question then arises of the relation of such batch shipments to the
export quota of a country. Should each piece in such a lot be deductible
from the quota? My feeling is that entire tusks should be deducted from
the quota while broken pieces should not. CITES primary concern is for the
number of animals dying and a pair of small tusks represents an animal as
much as a pair of large tusks. To make the system workable, it is probably
best in the original submission of the quota to the CITES Secretariat to
specify that over and above the quota of tusks marked in accordance with
Conf. 3.12, the country concerned intends to export a given number of
tusks each less than 1 kg in weight which will be exported in a number of
batches. When such batches arrived at a customs point they would be
identified by a Lot Number which would be related to the number of lots
specified in the quota (e.g. "Lot 2 of 7 lots, Kenya quota").
13 . Confiscated ivory
Paragraph b) in Resolution Conf. 5.12 states that "export permits for raw
ivory issued by producer Parties who have set quotas ... be regarded as
consistent with the conservation of elephant populations ... in the
country of origin ...". Confiscated ivory clearly does not accord with
this provision. Whilst such ivory is obviously the legal property of the
state once it has been seized, and there is no good reason why the state
should not export it for gain, it cannot be claimed that the killing of
the elephant concerned was in any way consistent with conservation.
In most countries I visited, the largest part of the quota would normally
come from confiscated ivory. It makes a mockery of the quota setting
procedure to carefully calculate a number of elephant which will die
through planned management programmes and then dwarf this with a vast
number of tusks which will arise from confiscation.
All countries were aware of the paradox and felt that the solution lay in
keeping the bulk of confiscated ivory totally separate from the quota as
advised to the CITES Secretariat. In the quota submission a nominal
provision would be made for a minimum amount of confiscated ivory that
could be expected in the course of any given year. Any significant amounts
over and above this would be exported only after advice to the CITES
Secretariat that such an amount had been seized and it would be exported
over and above the existing quota. The Secretariat would approve the
export and notify the importing country.
This raises the question in general of procedures to be adopted in the
case of a country wishing to exceed it its initially stated quota. Legally
there is nothing to prevent it doing so, and it seems that the best course
is simply that the country advises the Secretariat when this is about to
occur, and the appropriate notification is sent to other CITES Parties.
An alternative would be to demand that all such ivory was held over to the
following quota year when normal provision could be made for it under the
heading of "government stocks on hand". The objection to this is the loss
of funds which would result from such a practice, and no conservation
gains would be achieved by the action.
14. Non-Party states and states not conforming with requirements of CITES
The provisions of Conf. 5.12 - h), k) & n) were tacitly accepted by all
states. There may be cases where transit of ivory through non-conforming
states may be necessary on logistic grounds, and I cannot see the evil in
this, provided the ivory stays "in bond" during its period of transit.
Certain countries (e.g. C.A.R. ) do not allow the transit of ivory because
of a loss of potential revenue to the government and insist on the
consignment being imported and re-exported so that taxes can be levied on
entry and exit .
There is a real danger that the introduction of the quota system may
promote the illegal ivory trade among non-Party states. To circumvent the
new system it requires both the exporter and importer to ignore
procedures, and it may well be that certain countries are prepared to do
this. For example, if Burundi exports illegal ivory to Singapore there is
little that CITES can do to prevent it.
15. Registration of ivory stocks (Conf. 5.12 - 1)
This is an important procedure necessary to monitor the total annual trade
in ivory and the amount relating to the quotas of producer countries. The
volume of ivory in trade in any given year consists of an amount
originating from animals which died in the current year and an amount from
animals which died in previous years. In compiling statistics, the most
difficult part of the exercise is to separate these two categories.
Clearly, the primary conservation issue is the number of animals which
have died in the current year, and this cannot be established unless all
exports and re-exports of old stock, can be identified and deducted from
the overall total indicated by the number of tusks in trade.
The simplest way to establish the stocks of ivory not pertaining to the
current quota year is for each country to register such stocks and advise
the CITES Ivory Unit of the details. Such tusks would have to be marked in
accordance with Conf. 3.12 before they were exported or re-exported.
At the Buenos Aires meeting certain non-producing states expressed concern
about carrying out this task in their countries: however, it was pointed
out that if all producer countries were expected to comply, there could be
no good reason for non-producer countries not to do likewise.
16. Regional co-operation
A matter which has plagued the export and import statistics for raw ivory
has been the illegal export of ivory originating in one country by private
dealers in another. It is important to move towards a situation where each
country exports its own ivory - regardless of how great an amount is
involved. For this reason bans on exports and hunting which drive the
trade underground should be avoided.
There are important moves afoot in the central African countries to
co-operate in preventing the export of each other's ivory, and to mount a
major anti-poaching campaign which goes beyond the borders of individual
states. The Ministerial Conference of the Central African States for the
Wildlife Conservation (MCCASWC) was formed in 1984 and the Secretariat has
been established in Sudan. MCCASWC is presently raising funds to begin
17 . Continental co-operation
It became very clear to me in the course of visiting many countries that
the price of ivory fluctuates from one part of the continent to another
and clearly certain states are not realising the true value of the
commodity. When ivory is being sold on government sales and through
private tenders at a price below US $ 10/kg something is seriously wrong.
This is acting against the interests of conservation: the commodity is too
cheap and as a result does not achieve the administrative attention which
it is due. Too many animals are being killed to make a sum of money which
a few animals could provide with proper marketing.
Africa needs to be seen to be marketing its products competently,
servicing its wildlife industry with good technical management, and
policing its own irregularities. If such a situation existed the need for
the international community to insist upon regulations for the trade in
ivory would diminish considerably. In future years ivory will become more
and more scarce and, if the African countries co-operate in keeping the
price high, the resource can be of a great benefit to each country.
In each country I visited we discussed the possibility of forming a cartel
among the producing countries to export ivory to maximum advantage. In the
diamond industry in Africa all diamonds are marketed by a single
organisation (the Central Selling Organisation) which has been very
successful in maintaining the value of diamonds for the last century. The
declared aims of OPEC are to achieve the maximum revenue from oil, and to
make the resource last a long time. OPEC, to its disadvantage, only
controls a portion of the world's oil and is always vulnerable to other
countries' economic moves. The major African ivory resources are now
effectively limited to about 13 countries, and if these countries could
"get their act together" they could present a formidable front to the
ivory consuming nations.
A possible structure for an Ivory Producer's Export Cartel (IPEC) is
discussed in Appendix 13. The scheme attempts to build in the essential
functions of marketing, policing and technical services which would be
required to make such an organisation work. I do not put it forward as a
recommendation, but rather as an option which if adopted might improve the
current status of ivory and elephants in Africa. All countries which I
visited indicated that they favoured the idea, and reactions varied from
the positive to the strongly enthusiastic. I have no illusions about the
difficulties involved in trying to establish such an organisation. Unlike
oil and diamonds which are easy to monopolise, elephants are widely
distributed and few governments, despite claiming ownership of the
resource, are able to enforce their monopoly.
18 . International co-operation
The success of the quota proposals relies both on the producer countries
setting realistic quotas and doing their utmost to limit the number of
elephant killed to the stated figure, and on the consumer countries
implementing the full set of procedures called for on their part.
In several countries I visited in Africa I obtained evidence of the
involvement of foreign diplomatic missions in substantial ivory smuggling
using diplomatic privileges. I give three examples.
A diplomatic vehicle was stopped at a road block near a border crossing
and searched by wildlife staff who were not aware of the full extent of
diplomatic privileges. In the boot of the car were several rhino horns and
large elephant tusks. The staff were later reprimanded by their own
government for failing to observe that the visitors carried diplomatic
immunity, and the case was dropped.
A one tonne pick-up vehicle was stopped by wildlife staff as it was about
to enter the gates of an embassy. A search revealed that it was fully
loaded with a tonne of raw ivory.
The cook of a diplomatic residence was bribed by wildlife staff to pass
ivory out of the house while the diplomat was at his embassy. The
government authorities recovered a large cache amounting to over one tonne.
The officials of the countries in which the incidents occurred have asked
me not to reveal the names of their countries in order not to embarrass
their own governments, who in all three cases did not react to the
incidents for political reasons.
It would assist the cause of conservation if all Foreign Offices
instructed their diplomatic staff serving in Africa that under no
circumstances would the movement of ivory, or any other illegal wildlife
products, be sanctioned in the name of diplomatic privileges.
There is a limited amount that can be achieved by regulation of the
international trade in raw ivory. In my view the most critical area lies in
the internal administration of producing countries. It is not my intention
here to criticise the countries whose hospitality I have so recently enjoyed.
What is contained in this section is intended to be general constructive
advice and I have avoided referring to individual countries as far as
possible. However, each country will doubtless identify remarks pertaining to
its specific situation, and I apologise in advance for any offence caused.
I will begin by dealing with administrative matters what will affect the
success of the quota system directly, and then discuss more general problems,
which, until they are solved, will continue to frustrate the officials in
various countries in all their attempts to gain control of the ivory trade.
Given the present status quo - that is that almost all governments have a
declared policy that all wildlife belongs to the state - I will consider those
measures that are necessary to implement such a monopoly. Finally, I will look
at alternatives to total state ownership which may have a greater chance of
solving the long term problems.
In order to exercise control over the ivory trade (and wildlife utilisation in
general) an orderly sequence of policy decisions and administrative procedures
are necessary. 1 have tried to present these in a logical order. Failure to
consider each step in the process is likely to make the overall organisation
unsound. What is given below is not a framework for a conservation master
plan, but rather a simple set of procedures for wildlife utilisation.
1. Control of the resource
It is essential that governments should be able to protect their wildlife
resources and be seen to be in control. In all the countries I visited I
listened to a consistent theme that the wildlife authorities did not have
sufficient staff, funds and equipment to police the vast areas under their
control. To a lesser or greater extent this is true: it has been the case
as long as wildlife departments have been trying to assert their control.
And yet I am not totally sympathetic. Some wildlife agencies are more
successful than others in securing funds, and it depends to a large extent
on the strength of the case put by the head of the department to the body
controlling the country's budgets. Many wildlife agencies do receive
sufficient funds from the treasuries of their countries and often end up
with unspent funds at the end of the financial year. I was surprised at
how many staff were employed in wildlife agencies, rather than the
opposite. Certainly, the staff are inadequately equipped, but there are
many donors in the wings willing to assist with equipment provided they
are approached with sound proposals. I was depressed by the attitude that
until funds were forthcoming, nothing could be done to improve the
situation - because, in general, I don't believe it.
Anti-poaching work is the top priority. It is only in the field that the
illegal killing of elephant can be stopped - not through international
trade restrictions. It is well nigh impossible to confront large gangs of
poachers who are armed with automatic weapons with a spear or an ancient
.303 rifle, but it is here that higher authorities in the country must be
approached. In many of the countries I visited the streets and airports
teemed with soldiers bearing the latest military weapons; it would not
seem unreasonable to approach the military authorities for a loan of some
arms or even the secondment of the present soldiers carrying the arms.
Above all, strong leadership and motivation is needed in anti-poaching
work, and this must come from a high level. It is regrettable that many
high officers in wildlife agencies have never done anti-poaching work,
themselves and therefore are not competent to lead or organise patrols.
Illegal hunting can be contained by other less obvious methods which don't
necessarily involve massive anti-poaching forces. Good detective work and
the establishment of informer networks can result in a lot of arrests -
often of the more important criminals involved in the ivory trade. The
simple administrative step of inspecting, registering and marking all
tusks produced by private dealers for export is a method of detecting
ivory obtained illegally and provides sufficient grounds for arrest when
irregularities are found.
If it is totally impossible to attempt any of the above then there is only
one option: government should abandon its pretence to ownership of the
wildlife resource and look for other solutions for its management. This is
discussed further under subsection 8.
Before closing the subject of establishing control, a final vital point
must be made. In several of the countries I visited the loopholes in the
laws relating to acquisition of ivory are so large that anti-poaching work
would be a waste of time. In these countries, the primary need is to
address the next points in this section, before expending the time and
effort of sending anti-poaching staff on fruitless exercises. They might
catch one poacher with one elephant, but be forced to ignore a semi-legal
hunter killing herds.
2. Policy and legislation on wildlife utilisation
In most African countries, the declared policies on wildlife utilisation,
if they worked, would result in no more than a few tusks from
international sport hunters which would never enter the trade anyway. I
came across no organised cropping schemes or culling programmes which
could legitimately provide the present ivory in trade. Most government
ivory comes from confiscation, which cannot be called the result of
management programmes. In Tanzania the largest amount comes rrom
protection of agricultural crops - which, even if it is a somewhat ad hoc
approach to management, is at least the result of positive government
The bulk of ivory is exported from producing countries by private
citizens, and in many cases the quantities of ivory which they manage to
amass for export cannot be reconciled either with legitimate quotas set by
the authorities or with natural mortality of elephants.
I found it very hard to understand the dualism in the official attitudes
towards this obvious contradiction of the stated policies. On the one hand
there is legal provision for a minimal harvest of ivory, on the other
large exports of obviously illegal tusks are sanctioned.
There is a need for every wildlife agency to ask itself critically "how
will people get their ivory ?". The quota setting method in this report
lists the various sources and provides a method to allocate amounts under
each category. If the official government policy contains no provision for
wildlife utilisation of any form, it is pointless turning a blind eye to
the fact that wildlife is nevertheless being heavily used all over the
country. If bans don't work, then the next step is to accept that some
sort of exploitation will happen despite government policy and the best
option is to try to control it and keep it within manageable limits.
In many countries the wildlife officials see their brief as starting and
ending in the gazetted protected areas. What happens in the remainder of
the country is not their concern. The export quota of ivory will not
simply be the result of a number of permits issued for sport hunting in
defined hunting zones, in fact this will be the smallest part of it. The
bulk of ivory will come from the unprotected elephant populations in
no-mans- land. Some authority has to take the responsibility for this.
The system of "collection" which is still practised in some countries
requires comment. A permit allowing an individual to purchase found ivory
from villagers may have been reasonable in the days when modern weapons
were absent from the African countryside: today, it is nothing less than
giving carte blanche for elephant slaughter on a grand scale. It could
work with highly knowledgeable wildlife officials who inspected every tusk
collected, and who were prepared to put the collector behind bars if he
had a single tusk in his possession which had not come from natural
mortality. But where collection is being practised, the wildlife
authorities do not even inspect the tusks.
A problem which has haunted wildlife officials since the turn of the
century has been how to secure the ivory from natural mortality. If
adequate rewards are paid to private citizens to hand it in to government
authorities, then the rewards themselves are a stimulus for illegal
hunting. If rewards are not paid, the person who finds the ivory would
prefer to sell it to the collector or illegal dealer. With present
policies in Africa very little "found" ivory finds its way into government
hands, except those tusks picked up by the wildlife staff. Government
could afford to pay high rewards for found ivory and avoid encouraging
illegal hunting if wildlife staff knew how to differentiate between ivory
which has been hacked from an elephant's jaw, and ivory which has been
drawn from a skull found in the bush. Parker (1979, page 169) has given
detailed criteria for doing this. The person bringing in tusks from a
freshly killed elephant could be jailed without further ado.
Administration of hunting
Having decided on the legitimate offtake of elephant, the authorities need
to put in place an administrative system to ensure that only those
elephant which are on the quota are killed. This involves:
a) deciding who will use the quota. It may be shared among sport
hunters, both resident and international, citizens carrying out
cropping for commercial gain, or the wildlife staff themselves
carrying out control hunting or culling;
b) issuing a permit to hunt, which is specific regarding the numbers,
age and sex of the animals to be hunted, and the locality where
hunting is to take place;
c) supervising the hunting operation. Ideally, a member of government
staff should accompany the hunting party on all excursions from its
base. Where this is not possible, hunting parties should be made to
report at a manned entry point to the hunting area both on arrival
and exit, and their vehicle checked for the possession of trophies
not provided for on the hunting licence. Failing this, the hunter
should report to the nearest government wildlife officer immediately
on completion of the hunt; and
d) registering the tusks. The representative of government should
inspect the hunting permit, enter the permit number and the name of
the hunter into the station ivory register with the weight and
description of each tusk. The tusks will be marked with the current
entry number of the register, and an ownership certificate issued.
Government may demand that these same trophies are later presented in
the main administrative centre for confirmation of registration, and
the issue of export documentation if the hunter requires it.
In certain countries tusks are not registered, marked, or inspected from
the point at which they originate in the field to the point of export. I
am not referring to illegal tusks. Where "collection" is practised, such
ivory is legal within the government laws at all times. Frequently Che
tusks are marked by the dealers themselves, not because the government
requires it but because the importing country does. This system is open to
every abuse possible.
4. Movement of ivory within the country
After registering all tusks at their point of acquisition in the field,
the ideal system for controlling the movement of ivory inside a country is
to have all tusks registered, marked and inspected at a single main
centre, by a single responsible agency. Government sale of ivory and the
export of all tusks should take place from that centre.
In a large country this is not always practical. It is not economic to
move ivory unnecessary distances, particularly if there are convenient
points for export or internal markets near the place where ivory
originates. International safari hunting clients do not enjoy bureaucracy
or delays in obtaining their trophies and it is necessary to be flexible
on this point. However, in such cases it is essential that the officer in
charge of ivory registration in each centre is highly responsible, and if
he is likely to sign CITES documents, his signature should be registered
with the CITES Secretariat.
In several countries in Africa the flow of ivory is highly complicated.
Tusks are handled by more than one agency, each with their own sphere of
authority, and the decisions whether ivory is sold in the district where
it is acquired, whether it is exported, or whether it is moved to the main
centre appears somewhat arbitrary. All this need not be important,
provided the authorities know the numbers of tusks and where they are
stored at any one time.
The greatest concern should be with ivory which is in private hands. In
more than one country this ivory moves without checks at any stage: it is
not registered in the field, and it is not inspected before export. The
supply of ivory to most carving industries is also uncontrolled, where
even a simple system of occasional roadblocks would provide a partial
check on the ivory traffic. Whilst the Zambians may not be very successful
in containing illegal hunting, through the use of roadblocks they are very
successful at apprehending ivory which is being moved.
Apart from sport hunting trophies, it is desirable that all ivory
originating within a country is sold through the government. That is,
government should be the sole source of ivory. If private dealers wish to
export, they should buy their ivory from government, except for the odd
isolated purchase of a pair of trophy tusks from a private citizen, which
transaction would in any case be registered with government. The only
valid exceptions to this that I can think of would be in the case of a
registered dealer in ivory who was running an elephant cropping scheme
with government permission. There would be little point in him selling the
tusks to government and buying them back (I know of no such scheme in
In most Francophone countries the government handles very little ivory,
apart from occasional sales of confiscated ivory. The trade remains
largely in private hands with various taxes being paid for certificates of
ownership and export permits, and there is often a surcharge or duty on
the weight of ivory. I believe this is the source of many of the ailments
in the ivory trade in such countries. The lack of interest shown by
governments provides all the opportunity for inclusion of large quantities
of illegally owned tusks in export shipments.
I have been amazed at the low prices obtained for ivory by the governments
in most countries of Africa. To a large extent I attribute this to the
sale of ivory by tender. The opportunity for irregularities in tender
transactions is very high: a corrupt official can arrange external
payments for himself without arousing suspicion. However, it is not the
only explanation. In the Francophone countries ivory is frequently sold by
auction, but because the sale is only attended by a limited number of
local dealers, who are mainly in collusion anyway, prices remain very low.
When ivory is sold by fixed government price, this is also extremely low.
A properly advertised auction with international buyers present, conducted
by professional auctioneers, and with the ivory well presented in
organised lots, is probably the best way to conduct sales. The prices
obtained are the highest possible under present circumstances, and there
is little opportunity for collusion among buyers or corrupt practices
among government officials.
Civil servants in general, and wildlife staff in particular, are the worst
of financial managers. Perhaps it is because they are responsible for
public funds and not their own money. I have been appalled at the very
large stocks of ivory which are allowed to accumulate in government hands
before sales. Unsold ivory is the equivalent of uninvested money - it does
not earn interest. An astute businessman might hoard ivory as a
speculation against a price increase, but this is not the explanation in
the case of government officials.
Failure to sell regularly, and failure to obtain the best price for ivory
is no less than gross financial mismanagement.
Export of ivory
The international procedures for export are well known to most
governments, and particularly to private dealers engaged in the ivory
trade. I do not intend to repeat the CITES procedures here, and wish only
to remark upon certain internal practices which I came across during this
trip. In one country, private dealers obtain orders for ivory by
approaching overseas buyers with the promise to be able to supply very
large quantities. On receipt of an order, they then apply for an export
permit and set about assembling the shipment - which may amount to as much
as 40 tonnes, none of which they have in hand at the time of soliciting
the order, and none of which can be obtained through legal channels. It is
no good saying "naughty, greedy merchants": the fault lies with the
government of the country in the practices it is prepared to accept. The
country concerned is desperately short of foreign exchange, and any order
which carried with it the promise of a large amount of money is
enthusiastically welcomed by the trade authorities who issue the export
permit. It still requires the sanction of the wildlife authorities, but it
would require considerably more power than they have for the permit to be
In the central African countries there have been significant movements of
ivory between countries using certificates of ownership to clear import
formalities, rather than full export permits. Traditionally such movements
have been treated as "internal trade" rather than full export. The
certificates of ownership can be bought for a trivial sum, and many are
simply fraudulent. Zaire has recently asked the Central African Republic
to allow no further imports of its ivory into C.A.R. unless accompanied by
full CITES export permits issued in Kinshasa. This is evidence that the
CITES attempts to control trade are having some beneficial effects.
Control of internal ivory dealing and the carving industry
By far the largest problem throughout the Francophone countries and a
number of the Anglophone countries is the illegal ivory used in the
internal carving industries. I may well underestimated the amount at 85
tonnes in the previous chapter: it would not surprise me if it were double
In every country I visited the authorities were aware that by continuing
to sanction the sale of worked ivory from retail outlets and on the
street, that they were condoning an ongoing illegal harvest of elephant.
When I asked where the tusks for carving came from I was told quite simply
"We don't know. None of them are registered with us." It might appear an
attractive solution to simply close down all ivory retail outlets, sales,
carving industries and the like, but I don't believe it is the answer. The
industry provides a livelihood for many people and is an expression of
culture and art forms. To ban it will result in underground traffic of
worked ivory, and unfair advantage for surrounding countries. Far better
to recognise it, and to regulate the industry - as the officials in most
Francophone countries are trying to do at the moment.
It is important to ensure a legitimate supply of ivory for such an
industry, and this is the next step the Francophone countries will have to
take after completing their registration of all persons engaged in the
trade. There is a problem in carrying out this registration: in Gabon for
example, only one artisan has come forward - obviously there is a fear of
government reprisals. I believe that the long term future relies on a
close relationship between the carvers, who should form a strong trade
association, the hunters, who should either be employed by the carvers or
government, and the government itself. The wildlife authorities might set
a quota of animals to be cropped legitimately for the internal carving
industry, and allow the carvers to employ their own hunters to provide
them with the ivory. Government would assign designated areas to such
hunters and require them to keep those areas free of all illegal hunting.
All tusks from the hunters would be registered by the wildlife authorities
and, through this process, control will have been established.
I do not believe the answer lies in government taking over the industry.
There are certain areas where private initiative is important, and a civil
servant's attitude is not conducive to the best productivity. Tanzania and
Malawi recognise this and, while they have banned all private ivory
dealers, government provides the ivory for private carvers. Zambia and
Somalia have nationalised the carving industry totally, and it remains to
be seen how successful they are.
In Zimbabwe the industry remains in private hands but is tightly
controlled. All ivory dealers and carvers are registered with government,
and pay an annual licence fee. All retailers of ivory are also registered,
but pay no dues. Dealers can obtain their ivory only from the government
sales and may export it or sell to carvers. A certain provision is made on
government sales for some ivory which may not be exported to ensure that
the carvers are not left without a supply. Some citizens carry both
dealers and carvers licences and effectively sell to themselves. Dealers,
carvers and retailers submit a monthly return to government stating ivory
purchases and sales. The dealer gives the tusk numbers of all tusks
purchased from government and the names of the carving industries to which
those tusks were sold. In the carvers' returns are stated the names of
dealers from whom tusks have been bought and the tusk numbers. They also
describe the worked items made from each tusk and to which retailer these
items have been sold. Retailers give the names of all carvers from whom
they buy worked ivory during the month, and all persons in the public to
whom they have sold products. In this way the trade can be totally
monitored and any "shady" operator can be watched closely. It has in fact
had the effect of removing such operators from the trade, and the country
is now left with the more committed dealers and artisans.
8. Recording systems for information on the ivory trade
As soon as the technical staff in each country begins trying to set a
quota under the new CITES proposal, they will find that they do not have
the essential information on the number of tusks to be expected annually
from natural mortality, confiscations, control hunting and so on. I
exclude no country from this statement, including my own. At the beginning
of the first year of the quota system therefore it is very important that
each country puts in place a structure for acquiring the necessary data by
the end of the year. It is worth assigning one member of staff
specifically to the analysis of statistics from the ivory trade during the
year, and ensuring that all field stations are providing data in the form
required. The value of the resource in financial terms more than justifies
the expenditure, leaving aside any conservation issues.
The following system of data collection should be installed at the outset
of the first quota year and continued routinely as part of the management
of elephant populations.
a) Elephant deaths register: Every field office of the wildlife agency
should maintain a register in which, as a minimum, the following
items are recorded:
- Date of death or discovery of carcase.
- Location of death.
The sole resource that many governments have to protect their wildlife is
an extensive rural population: the government's only hope is to enlist
their aid, rather than to fly in the face of their wishes. The first step
in this process is to accept that the proceeds from wildlife utilisation
must go to the rural village, not into central government coffers. The
next is to devise programmes for the rational use of wildlife by the rural
community where government's main role is as an advisor. There is too much
talk about wildlife utilisation for the benefit of the people, where what
is intended is that government will continue to manage, harvest and market
the products and will make payments to rural dwellers to keep them happy.
This is not constructive in the long term. Only when communities take over
the management of their own wildlife will the benefits begin to show.
Apart from Zaire, there are many countries which do not have enough
manpower, funds and equipment to do the job demanded of them by their own
governments and the world conservation community. If they continue to
struggle with their present policies there is little chance of things
improving. The answer may lie in accepting that illegal hunting is
inevitable, and look for for ways to bring it within manageable bounds.
The long term aim of conservation is simply to ensure survival of the
species, and if this has to be achieved by methods which destroy some of
the illusions about conservation, that is neither here nor there. In Zaire
a proposal was discussed for legalising poaching which is presented in
Appendix 14. The ideas have application in any country where the present
conservation policies are becoming more and more difficult to enforce.
Countries are listed in the order in which I visited them.
The human population of Botswana is slightly in excess of one million persons
living in 600 373 sq km. As such it qualifies as one of the least densely
populated countries in Africa.
Botswana used to run an annual lottery for elephant hunting licences which
allowed residents and citizens the opportunity to hunt. The system ensured
that all people had an equal chance of a licence, and perhaps the only flaw in
it was that the large safari operators negotiated their quotas separately. The
country banned elephant hunting in 1983, following various malpractices by
hunters. The feeling of the authorities is that the ban has proved beneficial
because it has eliminated such offences as lack of follow-up of wounded
animals, "double-shooting" (if the first elephant shot did not have large
enough tusks, a second was often taken illegally), and unauthorised entries
and exits from hunting areas. The Department has been unable to man
checkpoints at the entrances to all hunting areas due to staff shortages (the
total staff for the country is about 350 persons).
At present the sole sources of ivory are from confiscations, deaths of wounded
animals and rare instances of control hunting. Typically the country exports
about 2 tonnes per year, which are sold by tender. Tusks are marked in
accordance with the CITES procedures, and there are 5 registered signatories
at Francistown, Maun, Kasane, Gaborone, and Machaneng.
The country permits private dealers and carving industries to operate, and
allows the import of raw ivory from other countries to provide the necessary
ivory for the local industry. All ivory dealers keep detailed registers of
tusks acquired and disposed of. I was not able to establish from the
authorities whether Botswana permitted the re-export of raw ivory by private
dealers. Their feeling was that if this was occurring it was not in the spirit
of the dealers' original request to allow imports only for the purpose of
Botswana supported the idea of an ivory export cartel very strongly. The
country is totally familiar with the system for selling diamonds and the
penalties for unauthorised possession, as it is a major producer in this
field. The Director felt that if the status of ivory could be raised to the
same standing as that for diamonds it would enhance conservation. At present
the fines for illegal hunting in the country are trivial (about 200 pula) and
this does little to deter poachers.
The country has a population of about 6.5 million people in an area of 752 610
sq km and is therefore relatively unpopulated. It has extensive ranges for
elephant, including 61 000 sq km under National Parks and 159 000 sq km in
Game Management Areas. Despite this (or because of it) the elephant population
is declining sharply. There are insufficient staff to effectively man the vast
Zambia banned elephant hunting in 1982, but the general feeling of the
Departmental staff is that this was a retrogressive move. The lack of a
presence provided by the safari operators may have intensified illegal
hunting. In June 1984 the Government withdrew all permits for private dealers
in ivory and carving industries. The Government is now the sole owner of
ivory, and has set up a Revolving Fund to accept all proceeds from ivory
sales. A significant proportion of this revenue goes to benefit the
Department. A carving industry has been established under the fund which
handles about 2 tonnes of ivory per year. At present the greatest problem
facing the industry is the marketing of its products.
The largest source of ivory is from confiscations (some 2 500 tusks per year)
but this is probably only a small part of the illegal traffic. Zambian ivory
provides as much of 75% of confiscations in Malawi. This is clearly
unsatisfactory from the Zambian authorities' point of view, it is some
recompense to capture a part of the illegal haul, but nowhere near as
satisfactory as to prevent the hunting in the first place. There is a large
surplus of ivory in Chilanga at present (some 12 tonnes) which is due to be
exported soon. Zambia marks all its tusks in accordance with CITES procedures.
Raw ivory is sold by tender at prices which are well below the true market
There are enlightened developments afoot in the Luangwa Valley to introduce
new community schemes where the residents can benefit directly from wildlife
utilisation, and these provide the best hope for the future. The Lupande
Development Scheme (Dalai-Clayton and Lewis, 1984) is a well-considered
project at a grass-roots level which should work. A major regional plan for
the Luangwa Valley is also being discussed, but my personal view is that this
is unnecessary and should not be allowed to prejudice the community projects
which are far more urgent. Experience in Zimbabwe with regional plans (Martin
and Taylor, 1983; Martin, 1982) has led me to believe that whilst they may be
useful exercises, they seldom lead to any constructive development.
The country is relatively small (118 484 sq km) and densely populated
(7 million people). Unlike Zimbabwe, there are no vast tracts of unclaimed
land and the country relies primarily on its rural agriculture for survival.
Despite land pressure the Parks and Wildlife Estate is well conserved and
boundaries are respected by rural residents. In areas of potential conflict
electric fences are used to prevent animals from raiding crops. A large part
of Malawi's success stems from well-trained staff, comprehensive master plans
for conservation (Bell and Clarke, 1985), and a sophisticated level of
anti-poaching work (Bell, 1984; Bell, 1985b).
The majority of ivory in Malawi, like Zambia, originates from confiscations -
the difference being that most of Malawi's confiscated tusks come from Zambia.
It is worth discussing the mechanisms involved here because they are a feature
of the ivory trade that no international sanctions can address. A tusk may
originate from as far afield as Zaire, be used as barter for essential
foodstuffs on the border with Zambia, and then move in small steps across
Zambia in a series of transactions which may not involve money changing hands.
The tusk is too "hot" to hold for long, and it is important for the owner to
get rid of it before being caught in possession. When, finally, an unfortunate
individual is caught with it after many exchanges, the tusk becomes legal
government property. But this is not before it has performed a valuable role
as currency for a rural trade system extending across international boundaries
and independent of modern import/export restrictions.
Confiscations account for about 75% of Malawian ivory, and the balance is
largely provided by control hunting. Malawi has a system in operation which I
did not encounter elsewhere in Africa. The revenue from ivory sales goes to
support the Department's budget and the staff have strong incentives to shoot
large tusked animals on control, and to execute anti-poaching operations with
vigour. The size of tusks shot on control recorded in the Kasungu National
Park ivory register would have been very suitable for sport hunting trophies
in many other countries.' The wildlife staff are well aware of the irony in
their situation: if they are totally successful in eliminating poaching, and
if electric fences prevent further crop raiding, they will find themselves
materially worse off.
Almost all ivory obtained in Malawi is consumed in the domestic carving
industry. The Chief Parks and Wildlife Officer was far from satisfied with
this state of affairs because the carving trade provides an outlet for illegal
ivory which is difficult to control. However, the carving industry in Malawi
is well policed and all worked products can theoretically be related to the
registered tusk from which they originate.
Malawi would export in the case of a major confiscation which exceeded the
needs of the internal industry, and felt that provision should be made under
the quota system for contingencies such as this. Malawi is not using metal
punches to mark tusks at present because they are not exporting. Ivory is sold
by tender or fixed government price, and this is well below the current
On the quota system, the view was expressed that African countries are in the
best position to judge what will be produced in their countries, and the
western hemisphere should not sit in judgement on the final quotas. Strong
measures to control wildlife utilisation within the CITES forum may act
against conservation in Party states, and the example of the Nile crocodile
was discussed. On the subject of a minimum size of tusk for export, Malawi
felt that this was not of much consequence as most of the ivory they were
recovering through confiscation was relatively large, and the establishment of
such a limit would not influence illegal hunting in their country. It was felt
that a standardised form for quota submission was desirable.
The area of the country is 945 166 sq km and the current population is about
20 million people increasing at a rate of some 3% per annum. At a density of
about 20 people per sq km it is relatively underpopulated (Malawi has about
60/sq km), and there are large uninhabited areas such as the Selous Game
Reserve in the south-east of the country which at 55 000 sq km is the largest
in Africa. Some 24% of the country is devoted to National Parks, Game Reserves
and Controlled Areas (which include human settlement).
The largest source of ivory in the country is from control hunting.
Douglas-Hamilton and Davitz (1978) calculated the proportion at 73% for
1967-68, and in a sample from the ivory register in Arusha from 1981-84 I
found the proportion was 67%. From the same register the proportion of
confiscated ivory was 27%, which is very much higher than the 1% found by the
above authors from the 1968 data, and may indicate a substantial increase in
illegal hunting. It is interesting to note how very different the proportions
are from neighbouring Zambia and Malawi where confiscated ivory forms the
overwhelming proportion of the total. The bulk of Tanzanian ivory comes from
the south-east of the country (Selous).
The flow of ivory within Tanzania is fairly complicated. Douglas-Hamilton and
Davitz (1978) give a diagram of the possible routes taken by ivory inside the
country, but I found that this did not pertain to the situation in 1984 - if
anything it is now more complicated. Under the Wildlife Division at
Ministerial level are three main branches: Tanzania National Parks and TAWICO
(Tanzanian Wildlife Corporation) which are parastatal, and the Wildlife
Division itself. Each of these three bodies deals with ivory, although TAWICO
is the main handler of exports. The Ivory Room in Dar es Salaam receives the
bulk of tusks, particularly the large ones, from all regions of the country.
Within the regions smaller tusks may be sold out of hand to local carving
industries; hunting trophies may be exported directly; National Parks may
export its own ivory, and TAWICO is permitted to receive tusks directly from
within the region providing it notifies the Director. The Ivory Room sells
20 kg per month to each of 32 carving industries in the vicinity of Dar es
Salaam amounting to about 7.5 tonnes. These tusks may not be exported. TAWICO
buys from the Ivory Room and arranges exports directly from Dar es Salaam. I
found it difficult to reconcile the total export figures from Tanzania with
the annual stocks in the Ivory Room, but was assured that this was because all
tusks are not always exported in their year of entry to the Ivory Room and
TAWICO gets ivory from other sources. If I may be permitted a recommendation,
it would be that the present system should be simplified'.
There is a very great difference between the typical number of tusks received
by the Ivory Room from 1971-77 (Douglas-Hamilton and Davitz, op. cit.), and
the numbers between 1982-84. The lowest figure in the earlier data was 3967
tusks in 1971, and in all the rest of these years it was of the order of 6000
tusks weighing about 30 tonnes. In 1982 it was 1480 tusks weighing 7.7 tonnes;
1983 - 1696 tusks weighing 9.6 tonnes, and in 1984 (excluding the last 2 weeks
of December) - 1301 tusks weighing 5.9 tonnes. I am at a loss for an
explanation for the sudden drop in numbers. What is more difficult to
understand is that if the amount sold to local carvers from the Ivory Room is
about 7.5 tonnes annually then there is virtually no surplus for export in any
of the recent figures. Tanzania exported 9.4 tonnes in 1982 and 4.6 tonnes in
1983, so TAWICO must have obtained almost all this ivory from elsewhere in the
Tanzania does not permit any ivory imports and private dealers are not allowed
to export. Safari hunting was banned between 1974 and 1978 but is now in
operation again with about 100 licences per year being issued. Tusks are
marked according to the CITES procedures and the Director of the Wildlife
Division is the only signatory for export permits. Ivory is sold by tender and
the prices realised are very much lower than the reigning international
prices. Tanzania would not be opposed to a minimum size of tusk for export, as
it tends to export only tusks greater than 10 kg from the Ivory Room.
The Government pays rewards for found ivory and information leading to
conviction of poachers. However, almost all found ivory is turned in by staff
of the Wildlife Division, indicating that the rewards are not high enough to
attract private citizens who would rather sell to the illegal buyer.
Illegal hunting is becoming a major problem. In the opinion of the Director of
TAWICO very little is finding its way to the coast, but is disappearing
through Burundi. All officials to whom I spoke were convinced that Burundi is
the major exit point for large amounts of ivory from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia
My overall impression was that conservation in Tanzania was of a fairly high
standard, particularly when the low salaries and limited number of staff to
police such a vast wildlife estate are taken into account. However, the threat
of increased illegal hunting is present, and if events suddenly took a turn
for the worse the existing staff would be hard pressed to contain any major
outbreak of poaching. I feel there is a strong need for the introduction of
programmes to allow rural communities to take over the management of wildlife
resource outside National Parks, even if this involves changes in the existing
legislation. I was informed that in the vicinity of Ruaha National Park the
local population was co-operating extensively with poachers and was totally
alienated from government staff. The best solution to problems such as this
probably lies in abandoning attempts to claim a government monopoly on all
wildlife, and rather searching for ways to induce communities to take over the
responsibility, giving them all the technical assistance necessary and
allowing them to reap the benefits without undue bureaucratic control (Martin,
1983; Martin, 1985). Perhaps the present high level of control hunting by
government staff could be replaced by well regulated community cropping
schemes, where the ivory and all other wildlife products would belong to the
community rather than the Government, and would thus be used by the rural
With an area of 582 647 sq km and a population of 20 million Kenya may not
appear to be overpopula ted . However, a large part of the country is extremely
arid and the population is highly unevenly distributed being concentrated on
the better soils in the southern third of the country.
The Kenya elephant population has been declining steadily since 1977 (Stelfox
et al., 1984), but this may be inevitable with the very high rate of human
increase and demand for arable land in the country. Kenya is unique among
African countries in having effectively "banished" everything to do with the
ivory trade in the country, there are no dealers, carvers or retailers of
ivory products. The country does not allow the import of ivory, but permits
transit if all documentation is in order. What little ivory accumulates
through control hunting, natural mortalities and confiscations is channelled
through Nairobi and exported by the Government. This is sold by tender,
because the Kenya authorities feel there would be collusion amongst buyers on
an auction. However, the prices realised for ivory are very low (US 340/kg).
Kenya uses felt-tip pens rather than metal punches to mark its tusks, and uses
the registration NRB (Nairobi) rather than a national code.
Kenya would be opposed to any minimum size of tusk for export because it has
no internal use for ivory and all tusks must be exported. The opinion was
expressed strongly that Kenya would not be prepared to tolerate undue
interference from non-producer countries in the matter of setting quotas, and
that demands from the European Economic Community for management plans from
ivory exporting countries were unrealistic. The Kenya authorities feel
confident in setting their own export quotas, and did not feel it was
necessary to test the method outlined in this report.
Kenya enjoys what is probably the largest tourist market for wildlife in
Africa, and this determines their policies towards conservation. Wildlife
utilisation schemes rank very low in their list of priorities, and are
probably impractical in view of the high densities of humans surrounding many
National Parks. Their needs are for efficient protection of the resource
within gazetted areas, although there is the additional problem of wildlife
populations with migratory habits which move outside National Parks. It is
here that they may have to consider some practical accommodations with rural
human populations on boundaries.
Traditionally Kenya has always been an attraction for a wide spectrum of
international wildlife scientists and conservation experts. Nairobi hosts
numerous non-governmental organisations apart from well-known individual
conservationists. I found it a somewhat alien experience to be in a country
where there are so many additional spokesmen on wildlife matters over and
above the official government agency, and learnt that that this frequently
leads to embarrassment of the authorities. Such a state of affairs cannot aid
conservation, and it would be desirable to see closer co-operation between the
Government and private sectors, with the initiative coming primarily from the
A feature of the next four countries, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Chad, is
that they are all fighting wars to a lesser or greater extent - either with
their neighbours or with dissenting factions within their countries. Such
military activity drains the country of wealth, and there is very little
funding available for conservation. Wildlife legislation has little impact in
such circumstances. 1 found it remarkable that there were still active
government agencies trying to implement conservation rules despite the
With only 4-5 million people in an area of 637 664 sq km, Somalia might appear
underpopulated: however the northern half of the country is mainly desert and
humans are concentrated largely in the south where the potential for conflict
with elephant is very high (Watson, 1984). Even in the south rainfall is low
(400 - 600 mm), and there is extensive overstocking of domestic livestock
which is in direct competition with wildlife.
The Somalian Parliament has ratified the CITES agreement and there remain only
bureaucratic problems in obtaining accession. The National Range Agency which
is responsible for wildlife is without any specific field staff, and relies on
the police who have a task force designated to carry out anti-poaching work.
Their job is daunting as Somali hunters are know to be among the most
proficient and ubiquitous in Africa.
Somalia banned all hunting in 1971, and has since closed down the ivory
carving industry and revoked all dealers' licences. The Agency has opened a
small experimental laboratory to teach the art of carving, and to reconstruct
the industry in government hands. This is unlikely to use more than a tonne of
ivory annually. The Government has a surplus cf 40 tonnes of confiscated ivory
which it plans to export in the near future, and thereafter it does not
envisage a sustained output. Somalia would readily adopt the standard tusk
marking system of CITES on accession.
Illegal hunting has been intense in Somalia recently (from officials, and
Watson, 1984) and the Government has mounted a major publicity campaign to
combat the problem. Notwithstanding the 40 tonne stock held at present, the
authorities believe there are large caches of ivory still buried throughout
the country. Such ivory is being gradually recovered by using a system of
payment for information (20% of the value of the captured amount) which
appears to bring in at least one tonne per year. Poachers are severely
punished with prison terms of up to 15 years.
In the majority of Africa it is believed that very little ivory leaves the
continent illegally (Parker and Bradley Martin, 1982). Somalia may be one
exception to this. The country has an extensive coastline which is very
difficult to police, and the sailing distance to countries in the middle east
is not great. I heard the opinion expressed in several quarters that
significant amounts of illegal ivory were moving to India and Pakistan in
small dhows. Djibouti also buys illegal ivory from Kenya and Somalia and,
being a free port, there are no difficulties in exporting further afield. The
quota system may address this problem if consumer countries co-operate.
Somalia has been asking for assistance in conservation for many years, both to
establish an efficient field staff and to re-structure their central wildlife
organisation from the head office downwards. The authorities made several
points to me fairly forcibly which I feel bound to repeat here. At the time of
acquiring independence, they were left with a total absence of conservation
legislation, policy and infrastructure. Their requests to the outside world at
a time when they had 25 - 30 000 elephant produced little other than
questionnaires and frivolous enquiries. Because their budgets were low,
potential donors felt that the country had no commitment to conservation and
was therefore not worth helping. International trade resolutions and
"lightning" visits from consultants (reference my visit) have done nothing for
them either, and they are highly sceptical of the international conservation
effort - perhaps justifiably.
During my stay in Somalia I heard nothing but favourable opinions of the
National Range Agency, both from other government officials and private
Ethiopia has on of the highest populations in Africa, some 40 million people,
and although it has an area of 1 237 000 sq km, less than half of this has
much potential for human settlement. A major human crisis has been caused by
the recent drought in the country, and it seemed somewhat trivial to be
discussing wildlife issues with the greater problems on hand.
Ethiopia is not yet a CITES signatory but is anxious to abide by the CITES
regulations. However, certain restrictions, particularly those regarding
leopard, strike them as inappropriate. They approved of the proposed quota
system for ivory and felt that each country should set its own quota. They
favoured international involvement in conservation issues as a way of putting
internal pressures on governments to recognise their own natural resources.
The Wildlife Conservation Organisation is a Department under the Natural
Resources Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture. It is divided into two main
sections: the Division of National Parks, and the Division of Wildlife
Utilisation and Anti-Poaching. There is also a separate Administrative
section. The Wildlife Utilisation Division (with whom I dealt) handle a
diverse set of industries, including civet musk and baboons and monkeys which
All ivory flow is centralised through the ivory store in Addis Ababa, but
tusks are not registered in field stations and are unmarked until they reach
Addis. The main source of ivory is from confiscations; there is very little
control hunting, and about a dozen elephant are shot on sport hunting licences
annually. The confiscated ivory is larger than in most countries (40% of tusks
greater than 5 kg and the largest pair 48 kg each), and this was one of the
few stores in which there was a significant proportion of found ivory. Many of
the larger tusks were cut in half for ease of transport by the illegal owners.
Typically about 1.5 tonnes of ivory (200 tusks) are confiscated annually.
There were no official ivory exports in 1983 and 1984. At the time of writing
the Government has about 5 tonnes in stock, and private dealers, of which
there are seven in Addis Ababa and a similar number in Asmara, were holding
about 4 tonnes. Very little of this ivory is exported and it is used mainly in
the domestic carving industry. The carving industries have a quota of ivory
from Government and when this is exhausted they are allowed further purchases.
Private citizens are holding about 5 tonnes of ivory with certificates of
Ivory imports are permitted under strictly controlled situations for the
carving industry, but there has in fact been only one case of import in the
last 5 years. All worked ivory is subject to export permits and the recorded
amounts were slightly under 400 kg in 1983 and in 1984. Ivory is sold by
tender or by fixed government price for out-of-hand sales.
The Ethiopian authorities are reluctant to see ivory become a major issue in
their country. It is not in line with their conservation and management
policies to exploit elephant populations actively, and they have numerous
other wildlife utilisation schemes in which they are more interested. The
status of conservation in the country is relatively high, and there are not
large tracts of unused land containing elephant: almost the entire population
is in protected areas. Tourism is actively promoted, including sport hunting.
In many respects Ethiopia and Malawi are similar: both have mature
conservation policies which seem to be a product of a situation where human
populations have reached a particular level and there is little land left for
The Sudan is the largest country in Africa (2 505 810 sq km) with a population
of 20 million people. Unlike Zaire, which is almost as large, one third of the
Sudan is desert. Elephant occur in the south of the country only and in recent
times numbers exceeded 76 000 (Watson et al., 1976). Owing to the war in
southern Sudan there are no recent figures for the population, but large ivory
exports in the last four years would suggest that it has greatly been reduced.
Following the exports of 1981 and 1982 (and an attendant amount of world
publicity) Sudan banned all exports in December 1983. However, immediately
following the ban certain influential merchants protested strongly to the
highest authorities and, on the threat of legal action, the wildlife
authorities were forced to back down. Some 3-4 merchants obtained permission
to fulfil outstanding contracts for export orders. I am not sure at the time
of writing whether these contracts have been fulfilled. The contracts were for
extremely large amounts of the order of 10 to 40 tonnes per merchant (although
I saw the exact figures in a file at the Ministry of Commerce, I was not
permitted to copy them). The Director of Export Promotion informed me that the
amount outstanding was 13.7 tonnes, but the Director of Wildlife thought that
the figure was more like 22 tonnes.
This brings up an extremely important point regarding internal administration.
It appears that Sudan merchants have in the past solicited orders for ivory
from importing countries without actually having the stock on hand. On receipt
of the order and import permit from the prospective importer the merchant
would set about collecting the necessary tusks and produce the documents as
grounds for the granting of an export permit. Few systems could be more open
Most government ivory stocks originate from confiscations. There are some 7
tonnes in stock in Khartoum at present, and a similar amount in Juba. More
confiscations are expected in southern Sudan in the near future. Control
hunting accounts for about 100 tusks per annum. The authorities will set a
quota of some 30 tonnes to clear present stocks, and expect in the future to
have a low production which will be mainly consumed internally. In the event
of a large confiscated amount they will use a special quota to cover the
Sudan does not allow ivory imports, but will permit transit if documents are
in order. The Government is unwilling to reopen the door to private ivory
traders when the quota system comes into effect.
Government ivory is sold by tender as local merchants conspire to keep prices
low in auctions. Sudan would not favour a minimum size of tusk for export as
they frequently acquire small tusks and pieces of ivory in the confiscated
lots. It is illegal in Sudan to sell tusks of less than 5 kg.
It appears that the Sudan authorities may have been unfairly criticised by the
international community for the recent large amounts exported: much of this
was illegal ivory bearing Sudan certificates of origin. Caldwell (1984) shows
that Hong Kong imported 214 tonnes from Sudan in 1981, and 219 tonnes in 1982.
The official statistics within the Ministry of Commerce show the total exports
of raw ivory from Sudan as being 19.6 and 57.2 tonnes for the same two years.
Of these total exports there were none to Hong Kong in 1981 and only 4.9
tonnes in 1982. In 1981 Belgium imported 6.7 tonnes, India 4.3 tonnes, the
Arab Gulf states 4.1 tonnes and Spain 3 tonnes. In 1982 the bulk of exports
went to Belgium (36 tonnes), the German Federal Republic (12 tonnes) and Hong
Kong as stated. I heard the same explanation for the large discrepancy from
two independent sources: large amounts of illegal ivory, including some from
Zaire, Chad and C.A.R. , had been exported from free ports across the Red Sea
bearing forged certificates of origin from Sudan.
The Director of Wildlife Conservation felt very strongly that shipments from
free ports should not be accepted by consumer countries because they are
almost invariably illegal stock. Recently the Sudanese Government has banned
all shipping across the Red Sea by small vessels in an attempt to curb illegal
exports. Dr. El Rayah Hasaballa also felt that all major shipments arriving at
ports such as Hong Kong and Tokyo should be referred back to the originating
countries for confirmation of the validity of export documents (he gave an
example of one legal permit issued by the Sudanese authorities for 2 tonnes of
ivory which had been skillfully altered to read 62 tonnes). Indeed, copies of
all import permits issued by importing countries should automatically be
posted to the CITES Management Authority of the exporting country concerned.
All Dr. El Rayah's suggestions are included in the first section of this
[Note: since the 5th CITES meeting in Buenos Aires these recommendations have
been incorporated into the ivory trade procedures.]
I had the opportunity tc talk with one of the largest ivory merchants in Sudan
and hear his views on the subject. The family concerned had been in the ivory
trade since the previous century and the grandfather of the present head of
house had been involved in slave trade, using slaves as porters for ivory. It
was clear that the gentleman concerned was in charge of a major financial
empire, and he frequently checked his telex machine during the course of our
discussions. His expertise in ivory was obvious: he identified for me the many
different types of tusks in the trade which all have characteristic names, and
spoke with considerable authority.
He was vehement on the matter of illegal trade and thoroughly agreed with the
recent ban on exports, which he felt had greatly curbed the flow of ivory. As
a legitimate trader he resented strongly the fact that the illegal competition
was evading the taxes due to Government and selling at prices below the true
market value (the Sudanese Government charges a 35% export duty on ivory and a
surcharge of one Sudanese pound for every pound of ivory, and legal shipments
also require veterinary certificates and CITES permits). He also had confirmed
examples of corrupt customs officials in importing countries who allowed
documents for shipments of as little as 5 tonnes to cover amounts as great as
40 tonnes. In some cases photocopies of expired permits were being used and in
others several shipments were being allowed to enter on a single permit with a
six-month validity. He thought that the 1983 exports from Sudan amounted to
some 75 tonnes of legal ivory and 400 tonnes which was illegal, with the main
staging point for the latter being Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
In his view the Sudan elephant population was still high but had lost all
large tuskers - he recalled wistfully the days when he had dealt in tusks as
large as 150 lb. He was opposed to the trade being reopened to all and sundry,
and felt that when the quota system was introduced the Government should
parcel it out to established reputable traders on the basis of past foreign
currency earnings, and exclude Johnny -come- la telys (This argument sounds
remarkably similar to one which I hear frequently from safari operators in
Zimbabwe.'). He felt that an appropriate quota would be about 60 tonnes.
Finally, he made the very important point that international trade regulations
could do nothing to save the elephant in the Sudan: the only thing that would
do so would be improved internal administration and policing.
A major initiative is being taken by the Governments in Sudan, C.A.R. , Gabon,
Cameroon and the Congo to prevent the export of each other's ivory and to
combat poaching. Zaire, Chad and Uganda are also expected to participate in
the near future. The Ministerial Conference of the Central African States for
the Wildlife Conservation (MCCASWC) has established a fund for operations and
a Secretary, who will be resident in Sudan, has begun collecting
subscriptions. The organisation intends establishing highly^ mobile
anti-poaching units who have the right to cross borders ("hot-pursuit") in the
course of apprehending poachers. The revenues from confiscations will be
repatriated to the countries of origin.
Although Chad is large (1 284 000 sq km) the northern third of the country is
true Sahara desert, and the middle third is arid Sahelian zone. The desert is
moving southwards at an appreciable rate: it appears that a long term climatic
change towards increased aridity is affecting the country. The human
population is some 5 million. The recent war has left Chad destitute and the
country is struggling to repair war damage and resurrect its economy. As in
Sudan and Ethiopia, there is a major human crisis caused by the drought.
Indeed, wildlife issues are a minor problem in Chad at the moment.
Chad is not a member of CITES, but is anxious to become one. I found that
whilst they had heard of the Washington Convention, CITES was almost an
unknown quantity to them. They felt that much as they would like to join, the
participation fees would be impossible to raise in the country's present
cir cums tances .
The administration of wildlife in Chad falls under the control of the
Ministere du tourisme, des eaux et forets. There are some 400 people working
in Parks and Reserves, and 600 in forestry. Many of these were not paid at all
during the war years, and it is only recently that salary payments are
returning to normal. There are two National Parks in the country (pare
national de Zakouma (300 sq km) and pare national de Manda (1140 sq km)), and
7 Game Reserves, 5 of which contain elephant (Mandelia (1380 sq km), Bahr
Salamat (20 600 sq km), Siniaka-Minia (4260 sq km), l'Abou Terfan (1100 sq km)
and Binder Here (1350 sq km)). The remaining two reserves are Fada Archai
(2110 sq km) and Ouadi Rime/Ouadi Achim (80 000 sq km).
During my stay in the country I was fortunate to have two meetings with the
Minister who briefed me on many of the current problems of the country. He was
anxious to make it clear that if ivory is leaving Chad illegally, it is
totally against the wishes of the Government, who are working towards
restoring elephant populations and wish to use the resource wisely.
The administrative and technical staff of the Department were of a very high
calibre with a strong commitment to conservation. Every moment of the 5 days
in Chad was spent in working sessions, and the staff gave no thought to office
hours or weekends. We frequently worked late into the evenings, and I found
myself "sucked dry" by the end of the day.' The results of every session were
reported to the Minister, and in our final meeting I found that he was totally
briefed on all aspects of the material we had covered. I was told that I was
the first person from the international conservation scene to visit Chad for
many years, and it appeared that the staff had been waiting for any available
ear to listen to their problems.
There is no doubt that the war had a devastating effect on the elephant in the
country. I was given descriptions of large military trucks loaded with ivory
destined for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and of a full scale slaughter using
military weapons which was reminiscent of events in Uganda in the previous
decade. The bitterness towards their northern neighbour was considerable: not
only does the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya still occupy a large part of Chad, but it
also occupies the richest area with oil and minerals. In the chaos that
prevailed during the war many poachers from other nations such as C.A.R. ,
Kenya, Sudan and Eritrea took advantage of the situation. Recently 161 tusks
of Chad origin were confiscated in Nigeria. Chad has now signed an agreement
with C.A.R. to restore organised customs systems and to control illegal
hunting using paramilitary troops.
Before the outbreak of war in 1979 Chad ran an organised system of hunting by
foreign tourists and residents, and all tusks were registered and stamped with
the permit number, a letter code designating whether it was left or right
tusk, the year, and the weight. This system collapsed after 1979, and ivory
was being licensed and granted export permits by any petty official in any
district of the country. The authorities are now struggling to restore the
earlier system, but hunting by the military is still a problem. During the war
the Chief of the Division of Fauna was imprisoned for attempting to prevent
elephant hunting, and the Director-General was forced to sign export documents
with a pistol pointed at this head. The Minister is now insisting on a single
person in N'Djamena as the only authorised signatory for permits and export
certi ficates .
Government ivory in Chad used to be sold through a parastatal called Domaines ,
and sales were either by auction or at a fixed government price for small
amounts . Small amounts were also sold to carvers in the districts from the
Prefecture offices, but the carving industry in Chad is not large. Most ivory
originated from confiscations, with perhaps 10 elephant being shot annually on
control hunting. Possession of any tusks under 5 kg is totally forbidden, and
such tusks when seized by Government are not exported but used locally.
Illegal possession of tusks over 5 kg is punishable by heavy fines and
imprisonment with hard labour. There is no reward system for handing in found
ivory. Imports of raw tusks are not permitted. Chad will consider allowing
private dealers to operate again once they have drawn up new rules for the
ivory trade. Official exports in 1983 were 1723 tusks weighing 10.6 tonnes,
and in 1984 there were 498 tusks weighing 3.7 tonnes. Imports recorded in Hong
Kong were 29 tonnes and 31 tonnes for the same two years (Caldwell, 1984). A
large proportion of these exports was clearly illegal. The price for ivory is
astonishingly low - about US il /kg.
The authorities in Chad regard one of their biggest problems as being the
large amount of illegal ivory still remaining throughout the country in hidden
caches. They were considering an amnesty such as that declared in Sudan in
1973 (Parker, 1979), allowing people to bring tusks in and register them
legally on payment of a government tax. We discussed this at length, and came
up with an alternative scheme which, instead of legalising the tusks, involved
Government purchasing the tusks at a price which was considerably higher than
that which the present holders were used to getting from illegal dealers. The
value of ivory in Chad is so low that the authorities felt that a price of the
order of US $20/kg would be absolutely certain to secure any outstanding
ivory. This could then be sold at the prevailing international trade price
with a part of the profits going to the Treasury and the rest being used to
re-establish the Wildlife Department. This proposal is being followed up at
Central African Republic
The area of the country is 622 984 sq km and the population is some 2 500 000
people, making C. A.R. one of the least densely settled areas in Africa. This
may be the result of the slave trade which persisted as recently as 1939, and
the conscription system implemented by the French for the rubber plantations.
At present there is a net urban drift of people further depleting the rural
areas. The entire eastern third of the country is virtually unsettled (Vakaga,
Haut Kotto, Haut Mbomou, and Mbomou provinces), and is prime elephant habitat
(forest savanna). No surveys have been carried out since the work of Spinage
(1978) who estimated the elephant population at 70 000 + 10 000.
[Note: a survey has recently been completed by Douglas-Hamilton (June 1985)
which indicates a major decline.]
The exploitation of elephant in C.A. R. is comprehensively covered by Froment
(1985), whose report is a chronicle of perhaps the worst administrative
system' the most inept financial management and the least effective elephant
conservation methods in Africa. The Bokassa regime can be blamed for a large
part, but the situation is still deplorable. I will bring out only the major
points from Froment 's report.
The large numbers of elephant killed during Bokassa 's reign led the new
Government in 1979 to ban all hunting. This served only to promote illegal
exports through Cameroon, Chad and the Congo. The loss to the state of these
illegal exports caused them to resume the commerce in ivory at the end of
1981, and hunting was reopened in 1982. A quota of 200 elephant was provided
for hunting; the country exported 22 000 legal tusks in 1982 - 83. The vast
majority (91%) of these were represented as coming from neighbouring
countries, but in fact the majority were from C.A. R. Dealers acquired false
certificates of origin, mainly in Zaire, and then "imported" their own ivory
into C.A. R. on payment of a nominal tax.
The ivory trade in C.A. R. is run by a highly efficient network of illegal
hunters, field buyers and large dealers. It is probably the only country left
in Africa which still allows the practice of "collection". Before the days of
sophisticated weapons a collector was given a permit to buy found ivory from
villagers. Now the collector drives a large truck with a container and
dispenses weapons to rural dwellers, who pay for them with ivory (the
collector is now finding that a Toyota Land Cruiser suffices - there is very
little ivory left to collect). The tusks obtained by the collector are not
marked, registered or at any time handled by the wildlife authorities, from
the point of acquisition in the field to the moment of export. No laws are
being broken. The authorities feel that they are left with Hobson's choice: if
they stop the practice of collection it will merely promote an illegal traffic
through other countries; either way, the elephant will be eradicated.
Apart from a small effort in the Manuou Gounda St. Floris National Park, there
is virtually no effective anti-poaching work.
Froment estimates that, over and above exports, some 15 - 30 tonnes of raw
ivory are used in the internal carving industry, all of which is illegal.
C.A.R. exports most of this worked ivory to West Africa, and despite an
extremely low export tax, the majority leaves the country illegally. The
Government earns some US $3000 on such exports. The country has a restriction
forbidding the export of tusks under 10 kg. Recently large numbers of polished
tusks under this weight limit have been exported under the heading "works of
art" to Hong Kong.
Froment recommends that :
a) All ivory dealing should be banned, particularly the practice of
b) All ivory imports should be prohibited.
c) Raw ivory exports should be prohibited, and all ivory acquired should be
used to sustain the internal carving industry.
d) All elephant hunting should be suspended for a period of two years, during
which time the authorities would deal with the illegal hunting. Elephant
hunting should be reopened with area-specific quotas rigidly enforced by
e) Government should become the sole source of supply for ivory and should
conduct all sales.
f) All artisans carving ivory should be registered and should submit regular
returns to Government of all stocks of raw ivory which they hold,
indicating the numbers marked on the tusks by Government.
g) Government should enforce all the provisions of its latest Wildlife
Ordinance 84.045 of 27 July, 1984, which provides protective measures for
wildlife and rules for the control of hunting.
h) All tusks should be marked and registered by Government.
i) Government should reinstate a system of rewards for civil servants who are
responsible for the apprehension of poachers and whose actions result in
the seizure of illicit ivory.
j) The work of civil servants should be regularly inspected both in field
stations and headquarters to promote a high level of efficiency and to
k) The field staff complement should be increased. At present there is only
one forest guard per 2 600 sq km.
1) The working budget of the High Commission for Tourism, Water, Forests,
Hunting and Fishing should be increased. At present this budget is about
US 322,000, yet the High Commission is responsible for generating some
US Sil2 million annually.
m) The National Centre for the Protection and Management of Wildlife (CNPAF)
should be allocated funds for anti-poaching work. At present it derives a
large part of its revenue from taxes on ivory exports, which will clearly
be lost when the preceding measures are implemented.
n) Anti-poaching activities in the National Parks should be expanded, and
should include the training and equipping of teams, and the construction
of bush roads to provide rapid access to remote areas.
o) Tourism should be promoted to generate revenue within the National Parks.
p) Further protected areas should be delineated in the dense forest regions,
both to protect the vegetation and the forest elephants, gorillas,
chimpanzees, giant forest hogs and bongos.
q) Government should insist on a conservation input from safari operators who
have concessions in hunting areas. At present such operators are present
on a seasonal basis only.
r) A census of elephant populations in C.A. R. should be undertaken by
competent researchers. [This has been done]
s) There should be a study of wildlife utilisation as it is at present,
leading to the formulation of future policies and strategies.
t) Data gathering systems should be established for recording essential
statistics relating to the ivory trade, and for determining the
contribution made by wildlife to the national economy.
u) A system of monthly and annual reporting should be established for the
wildlife department, and for safari operators and artisans.
While I was in C.A.R. a very significant amount of international funding was
made available to begin a project instigated by Froment which incorporated the
above recommendations, and the Government intends issuing a new Ordinance
embodying most of the points. [Recent advice from Douglas-Hamilton indicates
that the recommendations have been implemented]
I support all of the above recommendations. If anything further should be
added, perhaps it would be a long term move to integrate the internal carvers
with the hunting industry which provides their ivory and thus achieve a degree
of interdependence between them. Government must open negotiations with the
two groups and attempt to engender a responsibility on their parts towards the
wildlife resource. Unlike the countries which follow in this section, C.A.R.
is not necessarily a suitable area for the "legalised poaching"
recommendation. The areas with elephant have a negligible human population and
the illegal hunting is primarily carried out by people not normally resident
in the area. The only solution is to stamp out this form of hunting through
effective anti-poaching methods.
As mentioned under Chad and Sudan in this section, moves are under way to
foster regional co-operation amongst the ivory producing countries in this
part of Africa. Zaire has asked C.A.R. not to permit the import of any
consignments of ivory unless accompanied by full CITES documentation issued in
Kinshasa. A shipment worth US 34 million originating from C.A.R. was recently
seized in the Congo. While I was in C.A.R. meetings were taking place with the
Sudan authorities on anti-poaching.
In the view of the Haut Commissaire, Raymond Mbitikon, who is well respected
and probably the main hope for conservation in C.A.R., the ivory trade has
probably peaked out. Hunting and collection are likely to be stopped in the
near future. Mbitikon views regional co-operation as a very important step in
The authorities in C.A.R. were particularly interested in the IPEC proposals.
They saw the solution to many of their internal marketing problems being
solved by such a body, particularly if importing countries respect the
organisation. They felt that IPEC could not only provide the most efficient
marketing system, but like OPEC, its objectives should be to make the resource
last a long time. They pointed out the existence of a similar organisation for
the marketing of timber in central Africa.
The price of ivory is extremely low in C.A.R.: the poacher obtains no more
than US $6 - 8 per kg, and government sales realise at best US $10 - 14 kg. My
first reaction was that someone was making a killing somewhere - but it is not
inside the country. I purchased worked ivory in the market place, which is the
ultimate test of hidden profits by middle men, and found that bangles which
should have been costing $100 were selling for $10. This pattern was to be
repeated in most central African countries. It is very clear that they are
being exploited by both worked and raw ivory importers in the world at large.
Not only are they obtaining a trivial price for their ivory, but the remaining
value of elephant carcases including the skin, meat and bones is not being
realised at all.
C.A.R. has a government system of rewards for found ivory, but people find it
more profitable to sell to the collector. Amounts of confiscated ivory within
the districts are very low, and this is usually sold out of hand to local
artisans in the area. C.A.R. has set a minimum tusk weight of 10 kg for
export, although Government may export smaller tusks.
To sum up the situation in C.A.R.: whilst there is no doubt that a massive
anti-poaching effort is needed (which is probably beyond the resources
available in the country), such an effort will be wasted unless internal
controls are improved. The present rules actually facilitate illegal hunting,
and without a major overhaul of administrative procedures things are unlikely
Cameroon is 475 425 sq km in area with a population of 9 million people. The
population density is highest in the West and Central provinces, while large
parts of the country are totally uninhabited. Rainfall follows a gradient from
about 500mm in the north near Lake Chad to about 2000 mm in the centre of the
country and decreases to 1500 mm in the south. Rainfall in the western bulge
is as high as 4000 mm. The Sudano-Zambesian savannas in the centre and north
of the country are prime elephant habitat, and densities are frequently as
high outside of protected areas as within. A feature of land planning is the
presence of buffer zones around National Parks, and these are used as hunting
areas (some 27 have been established). Drought is affecting the elephant
population in Waza National Park in the north of the country, where there is
both a water shortage and damage to the vegetation. The authorities feel that
culling might be necessary.
I was privileged to meet the de"le"gue general au Tourisme, Dr. Abdoulaye
Souaibou, who informed me that Cameroon welcomes working with international
organisations such as CITES and views wildlife as a valuable resource.
Cameroon favoured the quota system and would do all in its power to make it
work. Although they have not exported ivory for over two years and now use all
their production internally, they would like to have an export quota to
prevent certain people inside the country takin-g for granted the supply of
ivory to the domestic carving industry. The quota system would also give them
additional power within the country to resist demands for increased numbers of
hunting licences. They were concerned that they did not have sufficient
knowledge of their elephant numbers.
The Director of Wildlife and National Parks, Mr. David Momo , explained to me
the structure of the administrative system in Cameroon. The wildlife division
has a staff of some 600 people who cover 10 provinces.
Cameroon is fortunate in having a strict control on arms and ammunition and
thus illegal hunting is not as high as in neighbouring countries. The
collection of ivory (as described under C.A.R. ) was banned in 1982 and there
has been a sharp drop in poaching as a result. A network of paid informers
helps to reduce illegal trade. Anyone in Cameroon may buy ivory provided it is
accompanied by a certificate of ownership which is issued by the Department on
payment of a tax. Illegal ivory cannot obtain such certificates. The number of
elephant killed by poachers can be estimated as it is difficult to conceal the
carcases and the authorities fairly soon learn of their whereabouts. The worst
poaching is in the north of the country where Nigerians are the main culprits,
although a large amount of the general poaching is primarily for meat. In the
south poaching is entirely by Cameroonians for both ivory and meat.
Hunting is banned in the extreme north near Lake Chad, and about 100 - 200
elephant are taken on licence in the remainder of the country annually. The
annual quota of big game licences is seldom fully used. These are taken by
international sportsmen and residents who may sell the tusks to the carving
industry, but generally prefer to keep them as trophies. Crop protection
accounts for a small number of tusks. There is a minimum size limit of 5 kg
for tusks taken by hunting, but this does not apply to exports.
Most ivory is sent to the capital, Yaounde, but the de"le"gue general may
authorise the sale of tusks to local artisans within the region where they
have been confiscated. Government ivory is sold by Domaines in conjunction
with the wildlife authorities, and such sales are generally by auction. I
visited the ivory store in Yaounde and saw about 400 tusks. The average weight
was about 12 kg which is very high compared to C.A. R. or Chad. 95% of the
tusks were from confiscations with the balance being found or shot on control.
A few tusks which had been cut into pieces were confiscations from carving
industries. There were some fine specimens of forest elephant tusks from the
south-east of the country. I was told that there were about another 200 tusks
in the government store in the Northern province. Cameroon is not yet marking
its tusks in accordance with CITES procedures but plans to introduce the
system soon. The price of ivory is low by international standards, although
far higher than in countries such as Chad and C.A. R. - carvers pay about
US il5/kg on the illegal market and the price on official sales seldom exceeds
about US 330/kg.
A bureau has been established (1984) under the Ministry of Commerce and
Industry to register all artisans in the country. Ivory carvers are among the
most difficult to register as they avoid advertising their presence. The
objective is to form a strong association of carvers and begin to study their
ivory requirements so that the supply can be regulated legally by the
Government. At present there is still a large illegal component in the carving
trade, and I observed that when we visited a carving establishment several of
the individuals ran away when they caught sight of the Chief of the Hunting
Services in the vehicle. He explained to me that Service often raids these
cottage industries and arrests people if any unlicensed tusks are found. I
have frequently heard experts in the ivory trade say that it would be
impossible to control these small carving industries in this part of Africa. I
am not at all sure that this is the case. I have seen it done in Zimbabwe, and
in Cameroon I saw clear evidence that the artisans had a healthy respect for
the authorities, who are very successful in confiscating illegal tusks.
I visited the "Artisanat" in Yaounde which is a bazaar for the sale of worked
ivory and other items of locally crafted jewellery and curios. It was here
that I met the most persistent and aggressive salesmen in Africa. When I
showed interest in a large ivory bangle which was over 100 years old the
vendor followed me for three days all over the city, and finally to the
airport in order to effect a sale! The Cameroon art forms are superior to most
in Africa and many pieces are collectors' items. I feel strongly that a large
amount of ivory going into local carving industries in Africa is totally
wasted in the production of tasteless items which, while they may be sold, are
an insult to the medium in which they are carved. Cameroon, through its
attempts to control and limit the carving trade, and with its rich artistic
heritage, may be one of the first countries to weed out the inferior products
and the people producing them.
The standard of administration in Cameroon is relatively high and elephant
populations appear secure. The biggest problem is the illegal traffic of tusks
to the carving industry, which may use a tonnage as high as in C.A.R. The
authorities are well aware of the problem and are taking measures to control
The area of the country is 267 658 sq km with a population of under 2 million.
Rural densities are declining as people migrate to the cities. Gabon has oil
and is one of the richest countries in Africa on an income per capita basis.
The country has a very high rainfall, the minimum being 1400 mm and the
highest in excess of 3000 mm. Much of the country is covered with dense
tropical forest which may not be optimum habitat for elephant. A study is
about to be undertaken by Richard Barnes under the auspices of the New York
Zoological Society which may provide long-awaited information on typical
elephant densities in these habitats.
A feature of Gabon that makes it different to other ivory producing countries
is the presence of a significant market for worked ivory within the country.
Some 35 000 French residents purchase large quantities of worked ivory
annually which is exported regularly to France. There is no need for Gabon to
concern itself with raw ivory exports; it is far better to work ivory and sell
it in the country. Many of the neighbouring countries are equally alive to the
Gabon market; worked ivory from Zaire, Cameroon, C.A.R. and the Congo finds
its way to the Libreville market, and indeed many of the carvers in Gabon are
nationals of other countries. Very little of the worked ivory enters the
country legally and very few of the tusks carved in the country are legally
acquired. I visited an emporium which was run from the private home of a
Frenchwoman who had a reputation for selling high quality pieces. The prices
were very high on all items and representative of the international market.
However, my mere presence in the establishment threw the saleslady into a cold
sweat as she feared 1 represented the "law" and was looking for evidence of
illegally obtained products. If I hadn't been the slightest bit suspicious
when I entered the place, I certainly was by the time I left. I was assured
that all the ivory was legally purchased and worked from tusks originating in
Gabon - despite the fact that I had not even asked the question. Ivory selling
in the street was far cheaper: bracelets which should have cost about $50 were
selling at about $20 and the price of ivory in polished tusks was about $25
per kg. These were the highest prices I saw anywhere in central Africa,
although they were less than half of the price in Zimbabwe, Tanzania or
Botswana. The French are well aware of the advantages of buying ivory in Gabon
and many take significant quantities to France for resale.
The present policies for wildlife management in Gabon are under review at the
moment. President Bongo is strongly committed to conservation and has taken
the move of banning all hunting in his own province. The Director of Water,
Forests and Hunting informed me that the country is in the process of
restoring its Game Reserves (it does not have any gazetted National Parks),
which are surrounded by hunting zones. It is hoped to increase the existing
staff of some 300 employed in the Ministry in the near future, and introduce a
system of rewards for found ivory. "Collection" has never been practised in
All government raw ivory is routed to Libreville and sold through Domaines .
Typical prices range from US ill/kg for tusks under 5 kg to $33/kg for tusks
above 10 kg, and sales are by auction with some international buyers present.
Although buyers are allowed to export, a negligible amount leaves the country.
The extent of illegal exports of raw ivory from Gabon is unknown, but the
Director believes that this is mainly ivory which has entered Gabon illegally.
Perhaps illegal hunting in Gabon has recently become significant. It is mainly
done by outsiders - nationals of Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. In a
newspaper article in Libreville a Gabonaise hunter (being something of a
rarity) was interviewed, and explained that he had learned his hunting from
the Senegalese by working for them over a number of years. I was told that the
Gabonaise are in general afraid of elephant, and that they are sacred to many
tribes. Gabon elephant are reputed to be small and aggressive and the locals
avoid them. (I find difficulty in accepting this as it doesn't seem to bother
the foreign hunters.) Pygmies are frequently employed to do the hunting, and
the Gabonaise buy the ivory from them very cheaply, using pirogues on the
extensive river systems to transport tusks to Libreville. In certain areas
ex-patrlate Europeans are also involved. The French airforce, which does not
go through customs checks and which is able to move freely between many
central African countries, is said to have transported several shipments out
of the country. There is a significant Lebanese community in Gabon which is
reported to be exporting large amounts of ivory to Hong Kong. The above items
of information were given to me by people selling worked ivory in Libreville.
Officially there is no worked ivory market in Gabon. Promogabon, which is an
agency established to promote the development of small industries, has been
unable to locate a single Gabonaise ivory carver, and the only artisan which
they did find was a foreign national. Artisans carving ivory are not
registered and it is known that they use mainly illegal ivory in their craft.
The Director estimates that only about 30 % of this is of Gabon origin. Under
the new laws all artisans will be registered and will have to use only marked
and registered tusks in their work.
In Gabon, as in most of the other Central African countries, the domestic
carving industry is the major problem to be tackled. Obviously the moves being
made by the authorities are a step in the right direction, but my feeling is
that if all government steps are totally restrictive it will be very difficult
to improve matters. Some ideas for positive approaches are given under
International Administration in this chapter.
I was left with the feeling that the wildlife authorities in Gabon really only
took responsibility for the elephant in the Game Reserves and official hunting
zones. Elephant in the remainder of the country appeared to be an unregistered
asset with few rules regarding their exploitation. Perhaps I am mistaken.
After the Sudan, Zaire is the largest country in Africa with an area of
2 345 410 sq km and a population of some 35 million people, largely
concentrated in cities, towns and villages, leaving most rural areas sparsely
populated. The elephant population is perhaps the largest in Africa and
estimates, such as the one in this report, are based on the flimsiest of data.
The internal problems in controlling the exploitation of elephant and the flow
of ivory in Zaire are stupendous. The sheer size of the country and inadequacy
of communications from one extremity to the other make the task daunting.
Perhaps here, more than in any country in Africa, is the futility of a
government attempting to claim a monopoly on a resource such as elephant
clearly evident. The full might of a small army would be required to implement
such a policy, and because such an army is not available to the Zaire wildlife
authorities (indeed, it is working on the opposite side at the moment'.) their
task is Herculean.
The President banned all hunting at the end of 1983 (at a time when a positive
project on controlled hunting was being successfully implemented), but the act
can only be likened to that of King Canute. Elephant continue to be hunted the
length and breadth of Zaire. Ivory leaves via Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania,
Uganda, Sudan, C.A.R. and Congo. The damage done by such a ban is
considerable: it renders the statistics of exports from every surrounding
country suspect, removes all the positive aspects of legitimate safari hunting
operations and projects such as the one mentioned above, and leaves the field
open for the daring, unscrupulous poacher. The evils in the situation are
compounded by certain conservation lobbies demanding that the remainder of the
world refuse to buy Zairian ivory: it is tantamount to saying to Zaire
"because you banned hunting you can't have any ivory" and ignoring the de
facto truth that the ivory has materialised nevertheless.
Under the Department of Environment, Conservation of Nature and Tourism are
two branches both with a responsibility for wildlife: the IZCN (Zaire
Institute for Conservation of Nature), which is responsible for the National
Parks and Hunting Areas encompassing about 10% of the country, and the
Division of Management of Natural Resources which handles the remaining areas.
I was informed by outsiders that there is a degree of conflict between the two
branches of the Department partly caused by the fact that the Division of
Management of Natural Resources has been guilty of issuing numerous hunting
permits (despite the ban), which do not specify limits on the number of
animals which may be taken, in every province of the country. The IZCN is one
of the CITES Scientific Authorities for the country and also plays a major
part in the Department's role as CITES Management Authority and it is with
them that I had all my dealings. I cannot stress too highly the degree of
co-operation I enjoyed with the IZCN staff (whom I found to be highly
competent): we established an excellent workshop atmosphere from the outset,
and, as in Chad, very little attention was paid to nominal government working
hours in the course of completing work which we had undertaken.
The major source of legal ivory in Zaire is confiscation. In 1984 the
authorities seized some 1200 tusks weighing 5.5 tonnes. A large part of this
arose from a shipment found on a private aircraft "in transit" through Zaire,
and the remainder from poachers caught in the act. Almost no found ivory is
returned to Government and the hunting ban precludes any killing for crop
protection. Confiscated tusks are deposited in banks in the regions, prior to
being moved to Kinshasa. Such ivory is graded and used to be sold to private
dealers though the Office national de l'ivoire, although there have been no
sales recently, pending the formulation of a new policy. The typical prices in
such sales were about US $7/kg: the rate paid to poachers in the field is
similar, and the dealers in Kinshasa buy illegal ivory at about US $25/kg. It
is clear that the government price is very low, and an outsider might be
forgiven for concluding that such a price indicates a degree of connivance
between sellers and buyers.
The pattern of illegal hunting in Zaire is not what might be expected. Males
with big tusks are very difficult to hunt as they tend to seek refuge in the
depths of the forest. The tendency is to kill complete cow herds whenever they
appear in open savanna type country where the visibility is good. Little
illegal hunting takes place close to villages: the local population is only
too willing to report poachers in the hopes of a reward. Elephant have learnt
that there is a certain safety in the proximity of villages, and tend to
congregate near them. This results in severe crop raiding, about which the
authorities can do nothing because of the hunting ban. The situation would be
amusing if it were not so serious.
The domestic carving industry consumes a large amount of illegal ivory ,
mainly small tusks. Prices in the market in Kinshasa are very low: an ivory
bracelet worth US $50 sells at about US $10; a pair of polished tusks weighing
about 7 kg sells at US $35 ($5/kg). I was informed that very little ivory came
from areas near Kinshasa: most of it was being transported considerable
distances. The authorities fully appreciate the problem and are trying to make
an inventory of artisans at the moment. Their plan is to sell the existing
stock of confiscated ivory to the carvers while exports are prohibited. By
allowing the continued sale of ivory products worked from unlicensed tusks
they are in fact sanctioning the illegal trade: with the hunting ban in force
it should be almost impossible for the artisans to obtain ivory.
There is a need for the Zaire Government to face the fact that control of the
exploitation of elephant in a country as large as theirs is impossible with
present numbers of staff, and with inadequate funds and equipment. As none of
the above is likely to be forthcoming in the near future (or ever) there is
only one option: a radical change in policy. The Government should seek a
solution which uses the only real resource at its disposal - a population of
millions of people. If the rural dwellers take over the husbandry of the
elephant, with Government exercising an element of control, there is greater
hope for the long term future than if present policies are pursued. A proposal
to legalise poaching was discussed with the Zaire authorities (Appendix 14).
Zaire has nothing to lose by attempting such a scheme and, if it is
successful, they could lead the field in conservation in Africa.
The Congo is underpopulated with a population of about 2 million people in an
area of 342 000 sq km. As in Gabon, there is an urban drift causing reduced
rural densities. The lowest densities of humans occur in the north and west of
the country, where the climate is equatorial and sub-equatorial with areas of
dense tropical forest. The technical staff of Eaux et forets informed me that
the forest areas in Congo held higher elephant populations than the savanna,
and that there were no "savanna" elephant in the Congo - only the forest and
pygmy types. Estimates of elephant numbers, including the one in this report,
are pure speculation. However, if the figures from the ivory trade are correct
- even if half the tusks originate from Zaire - there should be thousands of
I arrived in Congo shortly after the previous CITES Management Authority had
been replaced with new incumbents and regrettably had far too little time to
really cover much ground. The new secretaire general of Eaux et forets and his
staff very graciously worked outside government working hours in order that we
should achieve as much as possible. The quota system was approved in the
Congo, but the authorities saw difficulties in implementing it. The biggest
problem was the question of the number of elephant in the country, and there
was the further problem of ivory from neighbouring countries entering the
Congo illegally. However, the recent improvements in regional co-operation
might reduce the flow. The Congo authorities now repatriate ivory confiscated
from other countries, provided they can be sure of the origin: the problem is
that illegal ivory usually carries little documentation.
The main source of ivory is from hunting permits of which about 300 per year
are issued. Confiscation seldom yields more than 200 tusks per year, there is
no control hunting, and very little is recovered from natural mortality. The
Government sells all ivory to private dealers in the country, and tusks are
marked according to the CITES procedures agreed in New Delhi, 1981. Typical
ivory prices range from US il0/kg for tusks under 5 kg to US $50/kg for tusks
above 20 kg. The country has a policy not to export tusks of less than 5 kg,
and the hunting of animals with tusks below this limit is forbidden.
The Congo authorities favoured the introduction of a cropping system for
elephant on the lines of the legalised poaching proposal for Zaire. Their view
was that they already had a similar system for the exploitation of timber from
forests which could easily be extended to include elephant. They pointed out
that the risks of overexploitation, with Government having a monopoly, were as
great as they would be with the rural communities utilising elephant - in fact
they feared a situation where a person at a high level in Government might
easily override their recommendations for hunting quotas and over-exploit the
Zimbabwe has a population of about 8 million people increasing at a rate of at
least 3.6% per annum in an area of 390 580 sq km. The elephant range is
restricted to the periphery of the country in low rainfall areas (less than
800 mm year in average years), with elephant occurring in National Parks,
Safari Areas, Forest Land, Communal Land and private land.
Legislation introduced in 1975 allows all game outside of gazetted protected
areas to be used and managed by the landowner. This caused a proliferation of
game ranching on private farms within the country, and in many areas game is
beginning to replace cattle totally. The success of such operations was
demonstrated in the recent two drought years, where farmers with game survived
the drought and many made profits. To produce a profit the ranch relies on a
combination of sport hunting, meat harvesting and secondary industries such as
tanning of hides, carving work and fabrication of leather products (Child,
1984). The task facing the wildlife authorities at the moment is to extend
this system of private ownership to the communal lands of Zimbabwe, where the
Government at the moment still manages the wildlife pending the readiness of
local communities to take over. Programmes are under way to achieve this
(Martin, 1983; Martin, 1985). At present all money made from wildlife on
communal land is returned by the Government to the local communities: this has
amounted to over 2 million dollars in the last two years.
The main source of ivory in Zimbabwe is from culling operations in the Parks
and Wildlife Estate. Ivory also originates from control hunting, confiscation
and natural mortality. Apart from safari hunting trophies, all ivory moves
from the provinces to the government ivory store in Harare. The large
consignments of ivory from culling operations are marked in the provinces with
the final registration number that they will carry on the government sales;
other tusks are given a local number when entered into the ivory registers of
field stations and are renumbered in Harare.
All ivory is sold on government auctions held 3 or 4 times a year using a
private firm of professional auctioneers to conduct sales. Ivory is divided
into "embargo" and "non-embargo" lots, the former for use in local industries
and therefore not being allowed to leave the country, and the latter being for
export. The need for Government to regulate the balance between the amount of
ivory exported and the amount held in the country may soon fall away with the
proportions being determined by free market processes. At present there is
little difference between the prices paid for both types and Zimbabwe dealers
compete for both embargo and non-embargo lots. In the future it is envisaged
that all ivory will be consumed internally, but it will probably be advisable
to allow international buyers to continue to compete for the ivory in order to
prevent cartels forming amongst the local buyers. Small amounts of ivory may
be sold out of hand from the ivory store between auctions, and the price for
such lots is determined by the most recent auction prices. Ivory prices
realised on the auctions are the highest in Africa and this is largely a
result of having the international buyers participating in the auctions.
Prices paid at the auction in October 1984 were US $20/kg for ivory chips,
US $62/kg for 5 kg tusks, US $75/kg for 10 kg tusks, and over US il00/kg for
tusks in excess of 20 kg.
It has been said of the Zimbabwean ivory prices that they are abnormally high
because ivory is used as a means for citizens to move wealth out of the
country. This pertains largely to worked ivory (Bradley Martin, 1984) rather
than to raw ivory. All ivory bought by foreign dealers is paid for in foreign
currency at the prevailing bank rates, and if local dealers wish to export
they have to secure the foreign currency for the Reserve Bank. Any attempt by
a local dealer to export his ivory at a price lower than that which he paid
for it would be picked up by the authorities very quickly.
All ivory dealers, ivory carvers and retail outlets selling worked ivory are
registered with the authorities and the dealers and carvers pay a licence fee
to Government. No private citizen other than a registered dealer may buy or
sell ivory, other than in the odd rare case of a sale of trophy tusks from
sport hunting (which transaction has to be recorded with the authorities). All
dealers, carvers and retailers send monthly returns to Government. The dealer
declares all tusks bought and sold, citing the tusk numbers of each, and the
carver who received it. Carvers declare all raw ivory bought, including tusk
numbers and the dealer who provided the tusk, and the nature and description
of all worked ivory items carved from each tusk and to whom sold. Retailers
declare the amounts of worked ivory received from carvers, and to whom sold.
Persons buying worked ivory from retailers are issued with a CITES Form 1 by
the retailer which will allow the export of worked ivory from the country and
its import into another country. Whilst the necessity of CITES procedures for
this worked ivory may be questioned, the authorities choose to implement them,
not so much to satisfy international requirements as to enforce a high level
of control and elevate the status of ivory within the country. The above
system of returns by the various persons engaged in the ivory trade allows
checking of all tusks from their point of origin to the retail outlet. It may
appear to require a great deal of clerical work, but this is not actually the
case. It is only when a particular individual is suspected of fraud that the
returns need to be inspected in detail.
If I have any criticism of the worked ivory industry in Zimbabwe it is for the
low quality of the products produced. Unlike certain central and west African
countries, Zimbabwe carved ivory consists largely of tasteless replicas of
wild animals and "westernised" African figures of no aesthetic value
whatsoever. It is time the local industry employed the best Shona sculptors
whose work is sought after by international collectors and commands very high
prices. In this way the industry might do more to justify its use of ivory.
Caldwell, J.R. and Jonathan Barzdo (1984): The world trade in raw ivory, 1983
and 1984. A report prepared for the CITES Secretariat. CITES Document
Inf. 5.4 at the 5th meeting of Conference of the the Parties, Buenos
Caughley, Graeme (1976): The elephant problem - an alternative hypothesis.
E. Afr. Widl. J. 14; pp. 265-283.
Child, B. (1984): An outline of the wildlife resources on alienated land. In
Recreational hunting on State Land in Zimbabwe: options for the future.
Proceedings of a Workshop, 13th Ecologists' Meeting, Hwange. Branch of
Terrestrial Ecology Report, Zimbabwe.
CITES Doc. 3.10.4 (1981): Marking of ivory. Document prepared by
I.S.C. Parker for the Convention Secretariat. Proceedings of the Third
Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, New Delhi, India.
Clark, C.W. (1976): Mathematical bioeconomics . John Wiley, New York.
Cumming, D.H.M. & P. Jackson (Eds.) (1984); The Status and Conservation of
Africa's Elephants and Rhinos. Proceedings of the Joint Meeting of the
IUCN/SSC African Elephant and African Rhino Specialist Groups, Hwange
Safari Lodge, Zimbabwe, 1981. ISBN 2-88032-906-x, IUCN.
Dalai-Clayton, D.B. & D.M. Lewis (Eds.) (1984); Proceedings of the Lupande
Development Workshop. Document No. LDP. 5. 83, Government Printer, Lusaka.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1973): On the ecology and behaviour of the Lake Manyara
elephant. E. Afr. Wild. J. 11; pp. 401-403.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1983): Tanzania elephant status 1983. IUCN report,
revised Sept. 1984.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1984): Elephant populations since 1981. Report to The
African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group, September 1984.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1984a): Elephant and rhino population trends in Selous,
Tanzania. Pachyderm No. 4; p. 18.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1984b): Trends in key African elephant populations.
Pachyderm No. 4; pp. 7-9.
Douglas-Hamilton, I. & Davitz (1978): A preliminary report on the production
and distribution of ivory in Tanzania 1971 - 1977. Report to the Game
Division, Government of Tanzania, by the IUCN Elephant Survey and
Conservation Programme. Typescript 18 pp.
East, R. (1984); Rainfall, soil nutrient status and biomass of large African
savanna mammals. Afr. J. Ecol. 22; pp. 245-270.
Froment, J-M. (1985): Exploitation des gle"phants en Republique Centraf ricaine .
Document de terrain No. 1, CAF/78/006, FAO (in press).
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elephant ( Loxodonta africana ). J. Zool., Lond. 169(1); pp. 29-38.
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Joubert, E. & D.M.K. Mostert (1975): Distribution Patterns and Status of Some
Mammals in South-West Africa. Madoqua 9(1); pp. 5-44.
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evidence of tusks in the ivory trade. AE&RSG Newsletter No. 3; pp. 12-13.
Pilgram, Tom & David Western (1984); Managing elephant populations for ivory
production. Pachyderm No. 4; pp. 9-11.
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elephants. Mammalia 48(2); pp. 207-226.
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No. 4; pp. 12-13.
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in Bangui, C.A.R.; Report covers elephant surveys in C.A. R.; uncertain of
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rhino trends in Kenya. Pachyderm No. 4; p. 15.
Watson, R.M. (1984): Section 7. Wildlife Information. Consultants report to
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Watson, R.M., Tippett, C.I., Razk, F. , Jolly, F. , Beckett, J.J., Scoles, V. &
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Resource Management and Research Ltd., Nairobi.
Prefecture No. 1
Prefecture No. 2
Prefecture No. 5
Prefecture No. 6
Prefecture No. 7
Prefecture No. 8
CHAD ELEPHANT POPULATION
Tangile & Logon-Orlentale
Moyen Chari (Sarh)
500 - 700
70 - 100
300 - 450
50 - 150
100 - 135
200 - 350
800 - 1000
1. In the Lake Region (Lac Bol) there are generally very few elephants.
During the war these emigrated to Nigeria, but are now returning (possibly
due to heavy poaching in Nigeria).
2. The elephant seen in Batha were counted from the air in the desert.
3. All elephant in Chari-Banguirmi are in the vicinity of N'Djamena. One
concentration is 80 km north of the capital, and the other 53 km south.
The elephant population of Chad exceeded 15 000 in 1979. Many animals left the
country during the war and are now returning. They are now forming very large
herds which is a typical response to hunting pressure. The only area which was
relatively undisturbed during the war was the south-east region (Salamat),
although Sudanese poachers are known to operate there.
The total area of Chad is 1 284 000 sq km. The majority of this is desert and
elephant generally occur south of the 400 mm rainfall isohyet giving a range
of about 400 000 sq km. There may be slightly fewer elephant than expected in
the highest rainfall zone (1300 mm) in the extreme south-west corner of the
country, mainly because of agriculture.
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GABON ELEPHANT POPULATION
(See Appendix 4 for Method)
1. No data available for ranks R2 and R3.
2. The method predicts that elephant should be extinct in Estuaire province.
There are in fact a few remaining, and these have been arbitrarily
estimated at 1000.
3. Illegal hunting is high throughout Gabon, and hence the rank of 2 for most
provinces. The reason Woleu-Ntem is ranked 3 is that one half of the
province is totally unsettled and without access.
4. Human populations have been estimated by extrapolating the trends in each
province during the period 1970-1976. These are not uniformly upward: some
provinces are increasing at a rate of as much as 8% through immigration,
while the population in others is declining.
5. All data are taken from Geographie et Cartographie du Gabon (1983).
ZAIRE ELEPHANT POPULATION
An estimate has been made for the elephant population of Zaire by combining
the hypothesis of Parker (1984) with the best available knowledge of the
technical staff of the IZCN. Parker's hypothesis is that, in the absence of
human beings, elephant will reach a certain maximum density based on rainfall
and geology. Because elephants and human beings compete for the same
resources, the number of elephants will decrease as human populations
increase, and the nature of the relationship is determined largely by the
metabolic biomass of the two species.
This method uses the relationship derived by Parker between elephants and
rainfall, but rather than incorporate his factors for increasing or decreasing
the density according to geology, I have used local knowledge coupled with
inspection of the vegetation map for Zaire to perform this adjustment.
The method entails the following steps:
1. Zaire has been divided into its 24 sub-regions, and the area of each was
calculated with a digitiser.
2. Each province has been assigned a mean rainfall category by inspection of
the precipitation map for Zaire.
3. A maximum density for elephant in the absence of humans has been
interpolated from the graph of Parker (1984) showing rainfall versus
density. The values used are shown in Table 1 of this Appendix.
4. Provisional elephant populations for each province have been calculated
using this density and the area of the province.
5. The human urban population in each province has been estimated from the
map in Atlas Jeune Afrique, taking into account increase since 1974.
6. A human rural population density was estimated from the same map and
adjusted for increase since 1974.
7. The rural population in each province was calculated using this density
and the area of the province.
8. The total human population in each province was obtained by summing urban
and rural populations.
9. The human population in each province was then divided by 15 (Parker used
15.4 humans as the equivalent of an elephant's metabolic biomass), and
subtracted from the provisional number of elephant derived in Step 4 above.
10. Using the local knowledge of 8 persons, each province was then ranked on a
scale of - 5 for three attributes:
Rl: The current level of illegal hunting.
R2: The current state of abundance of elephant.
R3: The suitability of the area for elephant, taking into account the
vegetation types and the historic knowledge of abundance.
11. A multiplier factor was then arbitrarily allocated for each ranking and
this was used to increase or decrease the elephant population estimate
derived in Step 9. A full list of the criteria for ranking and the
multiplier factors associated with each ranking are given in Table 2 of
12. The final elephant population estimate in each province is the result of
three successive multiplications using these factors (Table 3). In cases
where the result was very small a minimum value of 100 elephant was given
to the province.
Parker (1984) is the first to admit that better data are needed to establish
the relationship between elephant and rainfall than were at his disposal. I
have examined the data from the different areas which make up Parker's mean
value in each rainfall category and note that in the lower rainfall classes
these are not normally distributed. However, East (1984) has given regressions
for elephant and rainfall up to a maximum rainfall of 700 mm and his and
Parker's values correspond almost exactly up to 600 mm, at which point
Parker's curve falls below the linear regression. The three countries in which
I have applied the relationship all fall into rainfall classes well above this
level, and it may be that the predicted densities are too high for the types
of forests involved. Parker also points out that elephant populations are
seldom stable and fluctuate about some mean value, or are at various stages of
a stable limit cycle (Caughley, 1974). In the absence of other work on the
subject, Parker's data provide a useful starting point.
It seems somewhat crude to subtract one elephant for every 15 human beings in
the area. Parker (1984) does not use his data in this manner, and may never
have intended it to be applied in such a way. The technique presupposes a
complete coincidence of ecological niches, which is not actually the case.
Parker shows that the relationship between humans and rainfall peaks at a
slightly lower rainfall than the graph for elephant, but notes that with
increasing human populations the peak seems to be shifting towards that shown
by elephant. In this exercise, it is of interest to note that in those
provinces where a negative result is obtained by subtracting one elephant for
every 15 humans, elephants are in fact extinct, and in the provinces where a
very low value or slightly negative value occurs, elephant are almost extinct.
This lends a first degree of credibility to the method.
The weakest part of the method lies in the multiplier factors associated with
different degrees of illegal hunting. I have assumed that over and above the
relationship derived from Parker (1984), there may be fewer elephant than
indicated. Parker argues (pers. comm. ) that the interaction between humans and
elephant tends to occur on the interface between expanding human settlement
and the natural range of the elephant. Therefore there should be no reason to
go any further than Step 9 of the exercise to predict the number of elephant.
However, in the countries where the method has been applied, there is strong
evidence that the illegal hunting is taking place a long way from this
interface and is not simply a displacement of elephants by humans. The
multiplier factors I have used to decrease the elephant estimate according to
the degree of hunting are very severe and should lead to an underestimate of
elephant if anything. For example, where illegal hunting is classed as high I
have divided by 10, and if very high, by 20. This assumes 90% and 95% of the
population respectively has been removed. Notwithstanding, the estimates
appear very high compared to previous figures. In support of the figures, the
high sustained yield of ivory in the past (Parker, 1979), recent high tonnages
(Caldwell, 1984), and the very large undisturbed areas suggest that the
populations should be large.
The multiplier factors used for the present knowledge of elephant abundance
and the suitability of the area for elephant do not affect the results as
greatly as the factor for illegal hunting. The latter is capable of altering
the estimate by an order of magnitude, whereas the former will at most double
or halve the estimate.
The advantage of the method is that it does subdivide the country into smaller
manageable units, and at least give the relative relationship between
Table 1 : Maximum elephant densities In the absence of human presence for a
range of mean rainfall categories. Data interpolated from the graph
of Parker (1984).
Table 2 : Ranking criteria and multiplication factors for three parameters
affecting elephant populations.
Rl: Illegal Hunting
Rank Description Multiplier
1 Intense hunting of all age classes for ivory and meat.
2 High level, selective for ivory, all tusk bearing animals. .1
3 Medium level, adults of both sexes, ivory only. .25
4 Low level, occasional adult males.
5 No hunting. *-.0
R2: Known presence of elephant
Elephant are never seen in area, neither are there signs.
1 Very low numbers: occasional signs, rare sightings. .1
2 Below average: known to be present, but not common. .5
3 Average: numbers as expected in this area. 1.0
4 Above average: more animals than surrounding areas. 1.5
5 Abundant: Unusual concentrations found in area.
R3: Suitability of area for elephant: habitat and historic record
Area unsuitable for elephant, never been know to occur.
1 Inhospitable habitat, elephant seldom recorded. .1
2 Habitat not preferred, elephant historically sparse. .5
3 Average area for elephant, neither abundant nor rare. 1.0
4 Favourable habitat, elephant historically common. 1.5
5 Outstanding habitat known for spectacular numbers. 2.0
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ETHIOPIA ELEPHANT POPULATION
Omo/Mago Complex 2 000
Omo National Park
Mago National Park
Tama Wildlife Reserve
Murle-Kenya Controlled Hunting Area
Akoba Complex 4 000
Akoba Controlled Hunting Area
Omo West Controlled Hunting Area
Jokau Controlled Hunting Area
Tedo Controlled Hunting Area
Mizan Teferi & Guraferda Forest 2 000
Harrar Wildlife Sanctuary 300
(includes Harrar-Webi Shebele C.H.A. )
Bash-Setit Wildlife Reserve 250
Metekel and Dabus Valley C.H.A 400
Borana Complex (see note) 50
Borana Controlled Hunting Area
Murle-Kenya Border C.H.A.
Chew Bahar Wildlife Reserve
Yabello Wildlife Sanctuary
TOTAL 9 000
Note: It is doubtful whether the areas listed in the Borana complex
contain any elephant. The small estimate has been included as a
contingency which also rounds the total number up to 9 000.
The other Protected Areas in Ethiopia do not contain elephant, and
it is doubtful if there are any elephant outside the above areas.
KENYA ELEPHANT POPULATION
All data are taken from Kenya Rangeland Ecological Monitoring Unit (KREMU)
publication by Stelfox et al. (1984). The Kenya Wildlife Conservation and
Management Department advises that they regard KREMU as the official source
The most recent data from KREMU are for 1983 and certain areas were not
surveyed during this year. To obtain estimates for the missing areas, I have
firstly taken those areas which were surveyed in 1977, 1978, 1980-81, and 1983
to compute a trend factor, and then used the most recent estimates from
previous years, adjusted for trend, to fill the missing gaps.
Trend: The following areas were included in all KREMU surveys
The 1983 totals is 0.67 of the total for 1980-81 and 1978. I have not tested
for significance and it is quite possible that the trend is not a real one
owing to the variability of the data. However, I have used 0.67 as the factor
to interpolate missing estimates in the 1983 data. Interpolated estimates are
marked with an asterisk.
MALAWI ELEPHANT POPULATION
Figures from Dr. R.H.V. Bell (Senior Parks and Wildlife Officer).
Nyika National Park
Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve
Kasungu National Park
Nkhotakota Game Reserve
Thuma Forest Reserve
Phirilongwe Forest (proposed reserve)
Liwonde National Park
Majete Game Reserve
A - Aerial Surveys, regular field patrols, dropping counts.
B - Dropping counts, direct counts.
C - Preliminary survey, dropping counts.
D - Informed guess.
In Vwaza Marsh G.R. there is some movement in and out of Zambia.
Kasungu N.P. population is highly localised within the Park.
Population in Majete G.R. seldom occupies more than 10% of the
protected area; the majority live in an open area to the north.
The population of Majete proper is seldom more than 60 animals
(information from Brian Sherry).
MOZAMBIQUE ELEPHANT POPULATION
The following information was given to Iain Douglas-Hamilton by Jose Tello in
December 1984, and is reproduced here with Tello's permission. The data are
based on informed guesses.
Northern Region (Niassa, Cabo Delgado)
Ruvuma - Lugenda West 10 000
Ruvuma - Lugenda East 5 000
Remainder of Region 2 000
Gile Game Reserve & Entre Ri 50
Zambezi North Bank 200
Gorongosa National Park 2 000
Zambezi Valley UT 1 500
Hunting Block 2 250
Hunting Block 6 1 000
Remainder of Region 2 000
Zumbo Fingoe 200
Emofauna area (Limpopo) 50
Remainder 1 000
TOTAL 27 350
Note: This represents a decrease of some 46% since 1982.
ZAMBIA ELEPHANT POPULATION
The following estimates were made by George Mubanga (Senior Wildlife Research
Officer) based on information from staff in the areas concerned.
Aerial Surveys: 1973-17700, 1979-7360
No surveys, based on patrol sightings.
Hon. Ranger's info. Heavy Poaching.
Heavy Poaching, probably lost cause.
Air Survey 1977-3700, low poaching.
Security problem, infiltrators poaching
As for West Lunga.
Based on field patrols.
Low human densities, some poaching.
Direct count in bird sanctuary.
GAME MANAGEMENT AREAS (see overleaf)
FOREST AREAS, REMAINDER OF COUNTRY
GAME MANAGEMENT AREAS
Military poaching in area.
Migrants from Kafue NP. 50 permanent,
Occasional animals from W. Lunga.
Military operations in area.
As for 2. Kasonso Busanga
Low poaching, large tuskers.
Area heavily encroached by humans.
Occasional animals from Kafue.
(200-300) High poaching, near Lusaka.
Based on density estimate of 0.3.
Dense settlement, heavy poaching.
As for 17 & 18. Threat to Luangwa NP.
Based on density estimate of 0.5.
Air survey 1973-12500, 1979-3350.
Heavy poaching from the north.
Air survey 1973-6700, 1979-3350.
Elephant eliminated by development.
Not preferred habitat, poaching.
As for No. 25 Kafinda.
Heavy settlement and poaching.
Socially protected in Chief's area.
Occasional Kafue migrants.
TOTALS 159 94 9
ZIMBABWE ELEPHANT POPULATION
Information from Dr. D.H.M. dimming (Chief Ecologist)
Hwange National Park 16 716
Zambezi Valley Complex 11 000
Mana Pools National Park
Charara Safari Area
Urungwe Safari Area
Sapi Safari Area
Chewore Safari Area
Dande Safari Area
Doma Safari Area \
Sebungwe Region 9 291
Matusadona National Park.... 1 283
Chizarira National Park 1 822
Chete Safari Area 815
Chirisa Safari Area 1 771
Sijarira Forest Area)
Kavira Forest Area )
Omay Communal Land ) 3 600
Binga Communal Land )
Gokwe Communal Land )
Gona Re Zhou National Park 3 937
Matetsi Complex A 033
Matetsi Safari Area
Kazuma Pan National Park
Zambezi National Park
Victoria Falls National Park
Deka Safari Area
Remainder of country 2 000
Tuli Safari Area and SW Matabeleland
Forest Areas in Matabeleland North
SE Lowveld, excluding Gona Re Zhou
Zambezi Valley Communal Lands
TOTAL A 6 977 + 3 000
APPENDIX 11 Conf. 5.12
CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES
OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA
Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Buenos Aires (Argentina), 22 April to 3 May 1985
RESOLUTION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES
Trade in Ivory from African Elephants
WHEREAS illegal trade in ivory now imperils the future of some populations of
African elephant and could imperil others if it continues at its present
level, thus depriving producer countries of the wildlife and economic benefits
provided by their elephant populations, within the policy laid down by
producer countries for their management;
WHEREAS Resolution Conf. 3.12, adopted at the third meeting of the Conference
of the Parties (New Delhi, 1981), defines the terms 'raw' and 'worked' ivory
and goes some way towards tightening the control of trade in ivory;
WHEREAS Resolution Conf. A. 14, adopted at the fourth meeting of the Conference
of the Parties (Gaborone, 1983), directed the Technical Committee to draw up
guidelines for controlling the trade in worked ivory as quickly as possible,
and in so doing to liaise closely with African Parties as well as other
Parties having elephant populations;
RECOGNIZING that a number of African states already operate successful
management programmes to conserve their elephant populations;
RECOGNIZING that African and Asian ivory are indistinguishable and that as the
Asian elephant is listed in Appendix I there is a need to ensure that the
trade in African ivory does not further endanger the Asian elephant;
WELCOMING the recommendations adopted by the 7th session of the Working Party
on Wildlife Management and National Parks of the FAO African Forestry
Commission in September 1983 and the Resolution on Trade in Raw African Ivory
adopted by 24 African Parties to the Convention at the Seminar on CITES
Implementation in Africa, held in Brussels, Belgium, in June 1984;
NOTING that the effective co-ordination of ivory trade controls by the
Secretariat of the Convention cannot be performed without the provision of
adequate resources, including staff;
THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION
a) that commencing by 1 December 1985, each state containing a population of
African elephants and wishing to export raw ivory establish, as part of
its management of the population, an annual export quota for raw ivory
expressed as a maximum number of tusks;
b) that export permits for raw ivory issued by producer Parties who have set
quotas as recommended in a) above be regarded as consistent with the
conservation of elephant populations and their habitats in the country of
origin, as discussed at the combined meeting of the African Elephant and
Rhino Specialist Groups of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN held
in Hwange (Wankie), Zimbabwe, in August 1981;
c) that each quota be communicated to the CITES Secretariat in writing by 1
December for the next calendar year;
d) that the CITES Secretariat assist in the implementation of the quota
system by maintaining a central database, circulating a list of current
quotas not later than 1 January of each year, preparing and distributing
for the guidance of the Parties (and non-Parties) a practical manual
describing the most effective procedures for implementing this
Resolution, and providing advice on the conservation status of African
e) that if the quota is not submitted by the deadline, the state in question
have a zero quota until such time as it communicates its quota in writing
to the Secretariat and the Secretariat in turn notifies the Parties;
f) that there be no export, re-export or import of raw ivory as defined by
Resolution Conf. 3.12 unless it is marked in accordance with that
Resolution or in accordance with the Secretariat manual referred to in
recommendation d) above;
g) that Parties accept raw ivory from producer states only where the date on
the export permit is for a year in which the producer state has a quota
in accordance with this Resolution;
h) that Parties may accept raw ivory from producer non-Party states only
where the non-Party state files an annual report with the CITES
Secretariat on its ivory trade, and meets all the other conditions in
this Resolution, Resolution Conf. 3.12 and Article X of the Convention
(as interpreted by Resolutions adopted by the Conference of the Parties);
i) that in compiling their annual reports, producer Party and producer
non-Party states that have exported raw ivory relate such exports to
their quota for any given year, providing the Secretariat with as much
relevant data possible, including, as a minimum, the number of whole or
substantially whole tusks, and their individual weights and serial
j) that, until such time as the Technical Committee produces guidelines for
control of worked ivory in accordance with Resolution Conf . A. 14, all
trade in worked ivory continue to be subject to the provisions of the
Convention which do not require worked ivory exported or imported as
personal or household effects to be included in annual reports;
k) that all Party states seek to route raw ivory exports to countries of
destination only through Party states or non-Party states which have
adopted ivory trade measures in conformity with this Resolution;
1) that all Parties take stock of raw ivory currently held in their states
which may be destined for international trade, that they report the
information to the Secretariat by 1 December 1986 for circulation to the
Parties, and that they mark all such ivory in accordance with paragraph
f) above prior to export or re-export if not already so marked;
m) that all Parties include in their annual reports complete data on
imports, exports and re-exports of raw ivory including, as a minimum, the
country of origin, the quota year that the export was authorized, the
number of whole or substantially whole tusks, and their individual
weights and serial numbers;
n) that all trade in raw ivory be prohibited with or through any state that
does not conform with the ivory quota and trade requirements of CITES as
advised by the Secretariat and confirmed by the Standing Committee of the
Conference of the Parties; and
o) that Parties assist the Secretariat to ensure that the duties set out in
this Resolution are carried out; and
APPEALS to all governments, non-governmental conservation organizations and
other appropriate agencies to provide funds for the resources required in the
Secretariat and producer states to ensure that the recommendations in this
Resolution can be effectively implemented.
Doc. 5.22.1 (Rev.)
CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES
OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA
Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties
Buenos Aires (Argentina), 22 April to 3 May 1985
Interpretation and Implementation of the Convention
Trade in Ivory from African Elephants
CO-ORDINATION OF IVORY TRADE CONTROLS
This document has been prepared by the Secretariat.
1.1 Proper control of the international trade in raw ivory is very
important, both to CITES and to the countries involved. The 24
African countries Party to CITES that attended the Seminar on the
Implementation of CITES in Africa (Brussels, Belgium, June 1984)
adopted a resolution on this subject. That resolution led directly to
the draft resolution prepared by the Technical Committee and under
consideration (in slightly revised form) as document Doc. 5.22
Annex 1. Both these resolutions call for the simultaneous
establishment of an "export quota" system and improved trade
controls. It seems that there is general agreement on the principles
and that only the details remain to be finalized.
1.2 Acknowledging that it was the will of the African Parties (with the
agreement also of TEC) to have such new procedures established, the
Secretariat designed a project which was aimed at providing the
necessary basis. The project was funded entirely by the Commission of
the European Communities to whom the Secretariat wishes to express
its sincere gratitude for providing the necessary financial support
at such short notice.
1.3 The project was conducted in Africa by Rowan B. Martin and in
Cambridge, U.K., by WTMU. Rowan Martin's report is presented in
document Inf. 5.3 and WTMU's report is document Inf. 5.4. Although
these documents are available only in English at the moment, the
Secretariat anticipates publishing both reports (together) in
English, French and Spanish as soon as possible.
1.4 The Secretariat wishes to express its gratitude to the Government of
Zimbabwe for allowing Rowan Martin to undertake this project. It
wishes also to thank the authors of both reports for their excellent
work and for providing such comprehensive and incisive insights into
the subject .
1.5 The Secretariat believes that documents Inf. 5.3 and Inf. 5.4 are of
great significance in this issue and provide the necessary basis for
the establishment of new procedures for the control of the raw ivory
trade. It feels strongly that the draft resolution in Annex 1 of
document Doc. 5.22 should be considered in the light of these two
2. THE ROLE OF THE SECRETARIAT
2.1 It has been implicit throughout discussions of the subject that the
Secretariat would be required to play a central role in the
co-ordination of ivory trade controls. The African Seminar resolution
and the draft resolution in document Doc. 5.22 both call for the
Secretariat to adopt such a role. Therefore, the Secretariat drafted a
provisional project outline proposing the establishment and operation
of a special unit within the CITES Secretariat to co-ordinate the
worldwide control of trade in raw ivory.
2.2 The overall objective of the project is:
To ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable utilization
of the African elephant by bringing the world trade in raw ivory
under proper CITES controls so that, as far as possible,
legitimate trade is facilitated and illicit trade is eliminated.
2.3 The sub-objectives of the project are:
i) To establish and co-ordinate the operation of a globally accepted
ivory trade control system based on export quotas.
ii) To assist and advise governments in the implementation of ivory
trade controls particularly in the annual establishment of export
quotas, the authentication of documentation, enforcement and
control mechanisms and monitoring of the trade and the status of
iii) To assist and advise traders and trade associations in complying
with the ivory trade control procedures.
2.4 The project will involve employing one full-time professional and cne
full-time clerk/typist. In addition, WTMU will be contracted to handle
the necessary data-processing. The professional ("Ivory Controls
Co-ordinator") will be responsible for ensuring that the procedures
established by the Conference of the Parties are effectively
implemented and properly co-ordinated in accordance with the relevant
2.5 At the time of writing of this document, the Secretariat had already
received (from the Ivory Division of the Japanese General Merchandise
Importers' Association via World Wildlife Fund - Japan) a firm
commitment for 60% of the funds needed to fully establish the unit. It
is hoped and anticipated that the balance will be available from other
2.6 The need for such a unit cannot be over-emphasized and is amply
demonstrated in documents Inf. 5.3 and Inf. 5.4. In particular, both
those documents repeatedly confirm that a very large proportion of the
international trade has been conducted without proper CITES controls
either at the exporting end or at the importing end or at both ends.
2.7 In addition to its primary function, the ivory unit could also be
responsible for further investigating the idea of forming an "Ivory
Producers Export Cartel" (IPEC) which has received support from
several African Parties (see document Inf. 5.3). Furthermore, the
Secretariat envisages that the ivory unit would also investigate
methods of securing permanent sources of funding so that the unit
itself becomes effectively self -financing within three years.
2.8 In order for the proposed export quota system and new control
procedures to come into effect on 1 January 1986, it is essential that
the ivory unit becomes operational no later than September 1985. This
will enable the professional officer to spend the first three months
making the necessary administrative preparations, establishing
effective lines of communication and ensuring that the quotas
established by the Parties and procedures are prepared by 1 December
1985. Therefore, the Secretariat proposes that recruitment procedures
will be initiated immediately following this meeting of the Conference
of the Parties.
TRADE CONTROL PROCEDURES
3.1 The Secretariat believes that it would be extremely valuable for the
Parties involved in the raw ivory trade to have a short manual or
"guidelines" on the operation of the quota system and on the
enforcement of the associated control procedures. Therefore, it feels
that such a manual should be prepared as soon as possible and at least
before the end of 1985. It intends to proceed with this idea if the
Parties agree and a suitable amendment to the draft resolution is
provided below. Such "guidelines" would provide the Parties with
practical descriptions of how the resolution might be most effectively
3.2 However, there are certain aspects of the control procedures which
need to be explicity agreed and which the Secretariat believes to be
essential to the success of the whole proposal. These procedures are
not designed and will not be used by the Secretariat to regulate the
trade. They are specifically for two purposes:
a) to ensure that importing countries do not accept shipments of
ivory that have not been exported from the country of origin
under proper CITES controls, i.e. exported against the wishes of
the Management Authority of the exporting country, and
b) to provide an accurate means of monitoring the trade and thus
provide feedback of data into the export quota system.
The procedures are the following:
i) Every time that the Management Authority of an exporting country
authorizes the export of a shipment of raw ivory it must notify
the Secretariat of the weight, number of tusks, permit number and
destination immediately . A copy of the permit and full details of
each tusk number should also be mailed to the Secretariat at the
time of issue or when the shipment is cleared for export .
ii) Upon receipt of this information, the Secretariat will inform
both countries involved. Upon clearing any shipment, the
Management Authority of the importing country must notify the
iii) If an importing country has not been informed by the Management
Authority of the exporting country and/or the Secretariat that a
shipment has been authorized for export it must not allow
importation until the Secretariat has been consulted and has
notified the Management Authority that the exporting country has
permitted the shipment in accordance with the quota system.
iv) Imports from a re-exporting country must be allowed only when
full CITES documentation is available, including tusk numbers,
and when adequate documentation is available to satisfy the
Management Authority that the ivory was either exported under the
quota system or was registered with a Management Authority prior
to 31 December 1985. Although such trade need not be subject to
the strict controls described in i), ii) and iii) above, any
Management Authority should seek the advice of the Secretariat if
there is the slightest doubt about a shipment.
v) Any confiscated ivory which is not included in a quota, including
any such ivory confiscated in a country not having a quota,
should not be allowed for export or re-export until the
Secretariat has been notified. Any such notification should
include full details of the shipment. Thereafter, its export or
initial re-export should be subject to the same procedures as
described in i), ii) and iii) above.
3.3 These procedures are designed to ensure that the ivory unit of the
Secretariat has complete details of all whole tusks, or substantially
whole tusks , when they first enter international trade . Without such
information, the Secretariat would be unable to properly monitor
controls and the quota system would not be effective.
3.4 The large volume of data (initially involving at least 50,000 tusks
per year) will be processed by WTMU on a computer and will then be
available for use in adjusting quotas, revising management programmes,
etc. , etc .
3.5 With respect to the marking of tusks, several problems have been
raised and discussed in document Inf. 5.3. The Secretariat strongly
believes that this matter requires a practical solution, which may
differ according to national requirements and/ or constraints.
Therefore, the Secretariat recommends some flexibility in this and
feels that the best solution would be for the ivory unit to
co-ordinate information on how countries are marking tusks or will be
able to mark tusks and that, providing any marking system complies
with the principle of Resolution Conf. 3.12 it should be accepted.
This is one area where the above-mentioned "guidelines" would be of
considerable use. Therefore, appropriate amendments to the draft
resolution are provided below.
SUGGESTED AMENDMENTS TO DRAFT RESOLUTION
4.1 The Secretariat recommends the following amendments to the draft
resolution in Annex 1 to document Doc. 5.22;
i) add to recommendation d) after "1 January of each year,"
prepa ring and distributing for the guidance of the Parties (and
non -Parties) a practical manual describing the most effective
procedures for implementing this Resolution,
ii) in recommendation f), replace "or recommendation 1) below" with:
or in accordance with the Secretariat manual referred to in
recommendation d) above .
5.1 The Secretariat believes that the reports contained in documents
Inf. 5.3 and Inf. 5.4 form an excellent basis on which to establish
proper control of the international trade in raw ivory in conjunction
with the draft resolution (with some revision of detail) in Annex 1 of
document Doc. 5.22.
5.2 Therefore, the Secretariat seeks the approval of the Conference of the
Parties for the establishment of the ivory unit, referred to above, on
the basis described in this document. The Secretariat also requests
that the Conference of the Parties approves the contents of this
document as a working basis, for the implementation of the CITES
controls of the raw ivory trade.
DEMONSTRATION QUOTA FOR ZIMBABWE - 1985
Forms Ql and Q2 have been used to set a hypothetical quota for Zimbabwe in
1985. The following notes apply.
1. Zimbabwe does not in fact have a 1 kg limit on weight of tusks for export.
This has been included simply for demonstration purposes.
2. The very large numbers destined to be culled (Box C) are part of a
programme to reduce Zimbabwe's total number of elephants to 33 000 over the
next few years.
3. The category CROPPING covers animals which will be used to ration labour
gangs and provide staff training.
4. The SPORT HUNTING quotas may appear slightly high for the populations in
the areas they originate (they form less than 1% for the country as a
whole). These quotas include, in addition to trophy bulls, a certain number
of non-trophy bulls (tusks less than 10 kg each), and trophy cows.
5. The percentage offtake from the population appears high because of the
culling total. Removing the amount culled, the offtake is 2.8% of 40 000
animals, which is well within the capability of the population to sustain.
6. The various factors used on the lower part of Form Ql are very much
experimental at this stage: we will be able to assess them better at the
end of 1985.
ESTIMATE OF IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTA
FORM 01-- ESTIMATE OF ANIMALS DYING IN QUOTA YEAR
C0UNTRY ..Z/WeffBk/^ YEAR . / .^^. c5 " SHEET/
Minimum export weight o
] K 9-
CAUSE OF DEATH
: HWf)M&£ N.P.
7 SRf/d<Z/ ft*£R
: o jPifrzj nejx,
14 Mf)7USRbc*>Q A
16 /t£Vr.9///2i£* £/
3 S Z^frffS/
/ ( ODO"
22 conQ ££ZHco
4 oo O
/ O 7
Z. oc o
25 of ZJ/l&Rf^l
h 4 7 COO
FINAL PAGE ONLY | % Q f population dying in quota year (100 x H/A) [ / 7. 4>
DEATHS OFFICIALLY RECORDED
Factor: no. with tu6ke
ANIMALS SEARING TUSKS
Fcctor: no. tuske/oni ncl ^
TOTAL NO. OF TUSKS
Factor: no. tusks > limit °- g
NO. TUSKS ABOVE LIMIT
NO. TUSKS BELOW
Totals from boxes X, Y, Z are carried forward to Forir
ESTIMATE OF IVORY PRODUCTION AND EXPORT QUOTA
FORM Q2: ESTIMATE OF EXPORT IVORY QUOTA
COUNTRY . . Zf*7&nGWg m
Minimum export weight of tusk (if any)
BELOW LIMIT ABOVE LIMIT
TOTAL TUSKS ORIGINATING
FROM AREAS WITHIN COUNTRY
Cor*r*ied for-war-d from Form Ql
ESTIMATE OF CONFISCATED IVORY
ORIGINATING WITHIN COUNTRY
ESTIMATE OF CONFISCATED IVORY
ORIGINATING IN OTHER COUNTRIES
WHICH WILL NOT BE REPATRIATED
IVORY HELD FROM PREVIOUS YEAR
1. GOVERNMENT STOCKS
2. PRIVATE DEALERS
PROVISION FOR PERSONAL EFFECTS
EXPORTS BY PRIVATE CITIZENS
TOTAL TUSKS IN YEAR OF QUOTA
TOTAL TUSKS CONSUMED INTERNALLY
TOTAL TUSKS FOR EXPORT
LESS: NUMBER OF TROPHY TUSKS
SPORT HUNTING. Box U on Form Ql
PERSONAL EFFECTS, Box p this forr
NET NUMBER OF TUSKS ENTERING TRADE
IVORY PRODUCERS EXPORT CARTEL (IPEC)
The following is a possible structure for a cartel to export ivory for the
ivory producing countries. The need for such an organisation arises from the
extremely disparate prices being paid for ivory exported from the different
countries in Africa. Many countries are not obtaining the full value of the
resource for their governments. In the coming years, as ivory becomes scarcer,
the cartel could greatly benefit producer countries by ensuring that the price
of ivory stays high and that the commodity is marketed to best advantage.
Africa needs to be seen to market its own product efficiently, police its own
industry, and service its own industry technically. At present the
international conservation community has taken it upon itself to assume a
large part of the responsibility for conserving African elephant. The need for
this would decrease if African countries were able to demonstrate effectively
that elephant were under sound management and conservation of the species was
Dr. G.F.T. Child (Director, Department of National Parks and Wildlife
Management, Zimbabwe) has already had preliminary discussions on the subject
of co-ordination of the marketing of wildlife products amongst producer
countries in Africa, and has considered a larger organisation than that
discussed in this Appendix. This is not intended to conflict with any other
moves being made at present to improve the marketing of wildlife products, but
should be regarded as one possible option which pertains strictly to raw ivory
The cartel should be a small agency employed by the ivory producing
countries. It should not be an organisation comprised of civil servants
seconded by the participating countries, and as far as possible it should be
free of the bureaucratic procedures and political involvements which hamper
attempts by African countries to embark upon joint ventures.
The first requirement for the establishment of IPEC is the formation of a
board on which producer countries would be represented. The board itself is
not IPEC: it is simply the "employers' organisation" controlling the cartel.
This would consist of no more than two representatives from the government of
each participating country: the highest presiding wildlife officer, and a
representative of the Treasury or appropriate Ministry controlling finance
(wildlife officers are notoriously poor in their grasp of financial and
The board would have the following functions:
a) To propose and vote on policies which IPEC should follow.
b) To recruit and dismiss the staff of IPEC.
The constitution of the Board would have to address the following:
a) Frequency of meetings. These need not be often, perhaps once a year at
same venue as CITES meetings.
b) The voting system. A dual system would probably be necessary: on
financial matters votes would be in proportion to ivory exports; on
matters such as recruiting each country could exercise an equal vote.
c) Rules respecting the sovereignty of nations.
d) Rules for the chairmanship.
e) Conditions of entry to the cartel and conditions for dropping out of
the cartel. Most cartels work on the principle that it costs little to
join but is extremely expensive to leave.
The cartel staff
A small agency is envisaged which has no more than about 10 members of staff
with the specific functions described below. Very high salaries would be
offered to ensure that the cartel has the best available staff.
whose role is to carry out the policy of the Board, represent the
cartel at Board meetings and present an annual report, to administer
the staff of the cartel, and generate internal policy for IPEC.
b) Marketing (2 persons)
the sole function of the marketing staff is to sell ivory to best
advantage. They have no conservation role, and accept all ivory for
sale regardless of any feeling they may have about its origins.
c) Investigations (2 persons)
- these should be experienced detectives who would collect information on
irregularities in the ivory trade. They would have no powers of arrest
but would pass their information to the police forces in the countries
d) Technical (2 persons)
these would be ecologists who would address the long term husbandry of
elephant. Their main functions would be the inventory of elephant
(population census), advising on management programmes for elephant
where required, and modelling the effects of management strategies on
populations. Their work would be strictly applied, as opposed to
academic. While the marketing and investigations staff would be more
concerned with short term issues, the technical staff would be expected
to look at the long term future of elephant.
The cartel would also require an accountant, a secretary, and an office hand.
Services of specialists, such as field management experts, air survey teams,
or economic consultants would be hired as and when required.
Recruitment of staff
The 7 senior members of staff could be recruited as follows:
a) A detailed description of the posts would be advertised throughout the
b) Applicants would submit curriculum vitae stating their experience, and
would state their salary and fringe benefit requirements.
c) At a full Board meeting each of the member countries would rank the
applicants for the posts in an order of priority, and those preferred
by the most countries would be the successful applicants.
d) Interviews would be conducted of a short list of final selections.
Location of Headquarters for IPEC
This would be best decided by an independent consultant, who would take into
account such factors as cost of living, travel logistics, foreign exchange
restrictions, communication facilities and working environment.
Funding of IPEC >
IPEC could be funded by a 1% levy on the total amount of sales it makes. If
the world export trade in ivory is of the order of 50 -100 million US dollars,
such a levy would provide more than enough funding. The cartel could run a
revolving fund where the balance of the 1% levy is invested for the producer
countries to provide dividends or be used for conservation purposes.
Methods of selling ivory
The marketing staff would export all ivory from member countries. It would be
impractical to move ivory to a central point, and so the cartel staff would
travel to countries to do inventories of stocks of ivory, and would rely on
good communication facilities to keep records updated.
Sales to consumer countries would generally be by negotiation of the highest
price possible. Cartels work on the basis that while stocks are withheld from
the market prices rise, but no money is made. When the commodity is sold,
profits are realised but if selling continues for too long prices fall. The
optimum is to achieve a rate of feed to the market which keeps the prices high
and generates steady revenue.
The cartel might also consider inviting international buyers to attend
auctions in Africa. The auctions could be rotated among the producer countries.
All countries would be advised of the daily price of ivory much as the
exchange rates for foreign currencies are advised at present. Internal sales
of ivory to domestic carving industries could be based on this price with
discounts at the discretion of the governments of the participating countries,
Ivory would only move on a CITES permit issued by IPEC. No other permits would
be valid. Such movements would occur only when a sale had been concluded with
an importing country.
The role of private dealers requires examination. Either all private dealing
in ivory would be banned by governments, or dealers would operate under
severely reduced latitude. If the cartel is successful in raising world prices
of ivory dealers could gain from the situation. The role of dealers would
become much as that of diamond merchants in the world today: the initial sale
would be from the cartel, but thereafter the dealers would take over the
intermediate market before ivory is finally carved.
Implications for the illegal trade
Penalties for possession, as with diamonds, would be very high. The illegal
export of ivory should become far more difficult if sufficient countries join
the cartel, and if consumer countries purchase only from the cartel.
However, the cartel would be vulnerable insofar as its attempts to keep the
price of ivory high will obviously be to the advantage of any illegal
operators selling at a slightly lower price. The greatest factor in favour of
the cartel is that if the demand for ivory remains as high as it is at the
moment, the cartel will still find itself able to sell all its ivory at a high
price, notwithstanding an illegal market which has to sell at a lower price.
If the cartel is successful it will lead governments to take more severe steps
to curtail the illegal trade.
Relation to the quota system
The technical staff of IPEC would assist countries in setting quotas and
managing their elephant populations within stated quotas. Ultimately the quota
system should give stability to the ivory market.
This proposal seeks to address two problems which confront several countries
a) Governments need to establish control over the de facto hunting at a
district level within their countries. At present there are no wildlife,
utilisation policies, yet a very large amount of illegal hunting is
taking place. Hunting bans are unsuccessful.
b) The value of the product being hunted is too low at the district and
national levels. The hunter sells his ivory at less than US ilO/kg to
the district dealer, who sells it for less than US $20/kg to the urban
dealer, who exports it for no more than US $30/kg. This ivory is worth
US $75 when it reaches Hong Kong. The need is to elevate the price at
source. The hunter should be receiving half of the final price and the
middle men should be taking smaller profits.
This is not the first time a proposal of this sort has been presented. Parker
(1983, page 20) describes how he and several other wardens of the Kenya Game
Department petitioned the Government to attempt a scheme for the Wata hunters
in Kenya thirty years ago. The colonial Government frustrated their attempts.
Richard Bell (pers. comm. and 1985c) has advocated the principle in
correspondence with Richard Barnes and in print. The proposal presented here
contains ideas that originated from discussions with the Zaire wildlife
1. Any agency attempting to implement the scheme should get clearance at a
high level within its government. When the wildlife authorities try to
enforce the provisions of the proposal they must be assured of the full
backing of government - even to the extent of confrontations with senior
2. The wildlife agency will set a quota of animals which can be hunted without
detriment to the elephant population in a particular area. The area should
be no larger than can be conveniently hunted by a single hunter or group of
hunters, and the quota should not exceed about 0.5% of the elephant
population in that area. Several such areas might be designated.
3. An active poacher, who must be a resident of the area, should be identified
and approached with the proposal. The best time to do this is when he has
been captured and is in jail.
4. He will be given the proposition of having the monopoly on a legal quota of
male elephant in the defined area subject to certain conditions. The
5. The quota will not be given free of charge. It will do nothing to improve
the value of the product at source, and there would be a certain amount of
social injustice in suddenly making him resource-rich in the midst of an
impoverished community. Safari operators would attack government claiming
that they could make more foreign exchange from the quota than the local
hunter. Government should also perhaps have a share in the resource. THE
SOLUTION IS THAT HE WILL GIVE ONE TUSK OF EVERY ANIMAL KILLED TO THE
GOVERNMENT. This will be the tusk that touches the ground first.
6. He will be responsible for dealing with all crop-raiding elephant before he
shoots animals further afield. If government receives complaints from the
villagers about crop-raiding his permit will be in jeopardy.
7. He will protect his hunting area from all other illegal hunters. Where the
government agency is in a position to enforce the law, he will report all
illegal deaths and rely mainly on the authorities to deal with the problem,
particularly in the case of large gangs armed with military weapons. Where
the law enforcement agency is unable to respond he will be permitted to
take matters into his own hands. He must report all illegally killed
elephant in his area, and any carcases found which have not been reported
will deducted from his quota.
8. If there are safari hunters operating in his area, he will shoot only those
males which have tusks in the range 10 - 20 kg. This is to avoid conflict
with the sport hunting industry who require the larger tusks.
9. He will present both tusks to the authorities as soon as possible after the
elephant has been killed. Both tusks will be registered and stamped with
the correct district code, and he will be given an ownership certificate
for one tusk.
This is an elegant solution so far. It fits in with the traditional hunting
rules, where the chief always received one tusk from the hunters in his
community, who were regarded as a select guild. It provides a legitimate
supply of ivory to the private citizen, and ensures a supply of government
ivory. It solves the crop raiding problem, and is using a territorial and
economic imperative to keep illegal hunters out. If the hunter decides to
exceed his quota he is a marked man - government knows exactly where to begin
It doesn't, however, solve the problem of raising the value of the product at
source. When the hunter walks out of the district office with his one legal
tusk clutched in his hand he is going to sell it to the good old nearby dealer
at the rockbottom price he has always received. And here is where government
plays its second masterstroke.
10. GOVERNMENT OFFERS TO BUY THE SECOND TUSK FROM THE HUNTER - at a price
which is slightly higher than the local dealer's price. For government
this is sound business: it cannot lose as long as the international price
is well above the price the hunter is used to receiving. However, it is
not really the objective of government to purchase all the hunter's tusks:
government simply wishes to force the local dealer to pay more.
11. Government is keen to see the local carving industry prosper, and wants to
establish a legitimate supply of tusks for the industry. If it doesn't the
tusks will be obtained illegally. It may have to buy a number of tusks
from the local hunter in the course of forcing the market value upwards,
but this is not important. Once raw ivory is worth US $50/kg government
can sit back and be pleased with itself. A number of dealers and carvers
may be put out of business but this is inevitable. The resource cannot
stand the present harvesting levels, and some form of selection process
has to winnow out the less successful.
12. Once these initial steps have been put into effect a whole new vista opens
up. The dealers, carvers and ivory sellers can be registered over a period
of time. Government has a foot in the door of the illegal trade, and
through the hunter has access to all parts of the industry. It is far
easier to ask the legal hunter "to whom did you sell your tusk?" than it
is to say to the man in the street selling worked ivory "where did you get
your tusk?" The illegal operators can be put out of business fairly easily.
13. The full value of the elephant carcases can now be realised. The skin can
be recovered and the meat marketed within the community. There is no need
for carcases to rot in the bush.
14. It may appear that the hunter is getting the chief benefits from the
scheme. This is not necessarily so. He will distribute his largesse within
his community. He may be forced to pay other people in the village to help
him deal with poachers in his territory. The legality of the operation
will lead to all sorts of secondary industries in the community. The
increased value of ivory in the district means that far fewer elephant
need to be killed for the same income that they were providing before the
15. Ultimately the hunter will join with government in the management of the
resource. The wildlife authorities will listen to his assessment of
numbers of elephant in the district and adjust quotas accordingly. If the
scheme is successful with elephant it can be extended to other species. By
sharing its monopoly on the wildlife resource, government may engender a
responsible husbandry of elephant which it has not been able to do so far.
THE WORLD TRADE IN RAW IVORY, 1983 AND 1984
A Report Prepared for the CITES Secretariat
J.R. Caldwell and J.G. Barzdo
Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit
IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre
219c Huntingdon Road
15 March 1985
Section 1 - Exporters
Central African Republic
Section 2 - Importers
Japan and Hong Kong
People's Republic of
Federal Republic of
United States of
This report was produced by the staff of the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit
of IUCN's Conservation Monitoring Centre, under contract to the CITES
Secretariat. It is one of two reports produced at the Secretariat's request
to provide background information for a proposal to establish better
controls on the international ivory trade. Integral to these controls is
the establishment of quotas for export of raw ivory from each African
country with an exploitable population of African elephants ( Loxodonta
af ricana ). The other report to the Secretariat considers the biological
status of the elephant and explores possible quotas based on the status
information. The present report complements the other by examining the
scale and pattern of the world trade in raw African ivory, and presenting
data on the average weight of tusks in trade.
Our primary aim was to provide the most up to date information on the
extent of raw ivory exports from each African country, the analysis,
carried out by J. Caldwell, appears in Section 1 of the Results. For some
African countries there were no export data or so few that it was necessary
to estimate exports on the basis of data from importing countries. These
have also provided a valuable check even when export statistics were
available. Our analysis of the data of importing countries appears in
Section 2 of the Results, that for Hong Kong and Japan being carried out by
J. Caldwell and the remainder by J. Barzdo. The discussion, which contains
a new analysis of average tusk weight, was written by both authors, who are
grateful to T.P. Inskipp and A.M. Dixon for their assistance in the
production of the report, and to the CITES Secretariat, R.B. Martin,
G. Hemley and D. Fuller (TRAFFIC USA), Tom Milliken (TRAFFIC Japan),
J-P. d'Huart (TRAFFIC Belgium), and T. Friedlein for their assistance in
In December 1984 , the CITES Secretariat requested the Management
Authorities of African Parties and a number of important ivory importing
countries to provide information on the exports/ re-exports and imports of
raw ivory for the years 1983 and 1984. Mr Rowan Martin, during his study
mission in Africa, collected much information on trade and passed it on to
us. At the beginning of February 1985 WTMU wrote to the CITES Management
Authorities of all those countries from whom we had not received a
As a result of all this we received some data from the following
countries, to whom we are indebted: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana,
Hong Kong, Japan, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia,
South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, UK, Zaire, Zambia and
Zimbabwe. The data from Hong Kong are worthy of particular mention because
they are of outstanding quality and are complete, for both years, with
tusk weight, number of tusks and export permit numbers. The data received
from each country are referred to in the relevant section of the Results.
We have also examined published Customs statistics of a large number of
countries, but unfortunately very few countries include a category for
elephant ivory or tusks alone. Those which were useful were from Japan,
Kenya, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, and USA.
In addition we have undertaken discussions with ivory traders in Europe
and have found their help and their trade statistics to be extremely
In general our methods have been the same as those employed in our
previous report to CITES on the ivory trade (Doc .TEC. 1. 4) (Caldwell, 1984;
Barzdo, 1984) which should be consulted. We have made much use of CITES
annual report statistics for 1983, particularly in consideration of the
importing countries. However, the differing quality of the available
reports and the complex nature of the trade have precluded a uniform
approach in dealing with each country. However we believe that the
presentation of the data makes the methods more or less clear in each
case. In relating tusk numbers to numbers of elephants we have again used
the correction factor of 1.88 tusks per elephant, from Parker and Martin
(1982) unless otherwise stated.
The CITES Management Authority of Benin informed the CITES Secretariat
that the country's legislation regarding CITES was not yet functioning to
the point where it was possible to provide statistics concerning ivory
trade. Moreover, there is no record of trade emanating from this country.
Information from the Directeur des Pares Nationaux des Reserves de Faune
et des Chasses states that there is no commercial ivory trade in Burkina.
There is a very small trade in carved ivory in local markets.
The Department of Game and Wildlife reports that nine carvings were
exported in 1983, of these only two represented substantially whole tusks.
In 1984 the figures were seven substantially whole tusks and 12 carvings.
There is no indication that any raw ivory originating in Guinea is in
No raw ivory from the Ivory Coast is reported in international trade,
indeed that country imports tusks in order to support its local ivory
carving industry. It is however possible that some of the trophies
exported from Senegal originated in the Ivory Coast. Information has been
received by WTMU however, that suggests that the Ivory Coast may have
re-exported some raw tusks to Europe during 1984 (Friedlein, pers comm).
The CITES Management Authority of Liberia has informed the CITES
Secretariat that there has been no ivory trade there for the past two
years. It has also been reported, but not confirmed, that Liberia banned
export of ivory or any parts or derivatives of forest elephants in May
No information concerning the ivory trade was received from Mali but since
all hunting has been banned there since 1978 there should be no exports of
raw ivory. Information has been received by the CITES Secretariat however
that a trader in Hong Kong applied to import ivory from Mali in 1984.
There is no indication that any ivory from Mauritania is traded
commercially. Martin (1985) believes that country's elephant population to
No raw ivory from Niger is reported in international trade.
No raw ivory from Nigeria is reported in international trade.
The CITES Management Authority of Senegal reports a total export of 11
tusks to France during 1983 and 1984. It is unclear whether these were of
Senegal origin and some at least may have come from Cameroon and the Ivory
There is no evidence that any raw ivory from Sierra Leone is currently in
international trade. The UK Customs seized a tusk, reported to be of Sierra
Leone origin that was being imported from France in 1983.
The CITES Management Authority of Togo reports eight tusks exported to
Canada, F.R.Germany and France in 1983 and 12 tusks exported to
Switzerland and France in 1984.
The Direction de la Faune et des Pares Nationaux has indicated that
exports in 1983 amounted to 33 tusks, and in 1984 to 34 tusks. These
trophies went mainly to destinations in Europe and North America.
Dr Martin reports that there are about 400 tusks in the Yaounde ivory
store awaiting sale, and possibly another 200 tusks in the provinces.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
According to figures received from the CAR Management Authority and from
Froment (1984), exports of raw ivory decreased from 201 712 kg in 1982 to
101 410 kg in 1983, and then again to 42 336 kg in 1984. The number of
tusks was not recorded in 1982 but mean tusk weights were calculated to be
11.7 kg and 14.6 kg in 1983 and 1984 respectively. At the CITES Training
Seminar for African Parties, held in Brussels in June 1984,
representatives from CAR stated that an attempt was being made to reduce
the level of ivory exports.
The large volume of ivory exported in 1982 did not all reach markets in
the Far East during that year, Hong Kong and Japan only reporting imports
of 110 t, some of which may have been originally exported in 1981. It is
reasonable to assume, therefore that at least 100 t, and possibly more was
either in store in Europe, or in transit, at the end of 1982. This
'reservoir' of ivory from CAR has had a knock-on effect on the annual
statistics reported by Hong Kong and Japan particularly, and has distorted
the overall picture of annual ivory exports from Africa. For example,
Japanese Customs statistics for 1984 record imports of over 100 t of ivory
of CAR origin despite CAR's reported exports of only 42 t in that year. A
closer inspection of the available CITES data from Hong Kong, Japan and
Belgium suggests that a large proportion of this ivory (in excess of 60 t)
was re-exported by Belgium to the Far East in late 1983.
Belgium was reported by CAR to be the destination of the majority of the
exports in 1983 and 1984, and it is likely that this was the case in 1982
also. The data for 1984 compare well with those for imports from CAR
provided by Belgium - CAR reported exporting 2102 tusks weighing a total
of 32 187 kg and Belgium reported importing 2316 tusks weighing 36 660 kg,
the difference between the totals almost certainly being the result of
end-of-year exports not being reported as imports until the following
year. For example, of the 22 shipments arriving in Belgium from CAR in
1984, at least five left CAR in 1983, and at least one of CAR's 17
shipments to Belgium in 1984 would not have arrived until early 1985.
CAR exported 1122 tusks weighing 11 981 kg directly to Hong Kong, 102
tusks weighing 1648 kg to Italy and a small quantity, 12 tusks weighing
200 kg, to Japan in 1983. In 1984 the trade pattern changed slightly, no
exports going directly to Hong Kong and small quantities, 29 and 15 tusks
respectively going to Portugal and Gabon. However, 566 tusks weighing
7320 kg were exported directly to Japan and another 176 tusks weighing
2060 kg were exported to Singapore, probably in transit to Japan. This may
suggest that ivory traders were beginning to use Singapore as a transit
point, perhaps as a result of Belgium implementing CITES, and the airline
Sabena refusing to carry ivory.
CAR also exports ivory confiscated from poachers, and this may be recorded
as being of CAR origin by the importer. However, at least two of the
shipments reported by CAR as direct exports in 1984 were in fact
re-exports of ivory originating in Zaire, and were reported as such by
Large amounts of ivory left Chad illegally in 1983, according to official
sources in that country (R. Martin, in litt .). However, official
government statistics indicate that legitimate exports in 1983 were 1723
tusks weighing 10 564 kg. Hong Kong reported importing 11 shipments of
tusks amounting to 25 335 kg directly from Chad in 1983, and another
5641 kg from Japan, which had imported them that year from Chad via
Belgium. Total exports from Chad in 1983 would therefore appear to have
been at least 31 t, although a proportion of this may have left Chad in
1982. Japanese Customs data record a little over 22 t of ivory of Chad
origin being imported in 1983 but over 15 t of this was via Hong Kong.
A total of 498 tusks weighing 3694 kg were officially exported from Chad
in 1984. However, information provided by the ivory trade indicates that
one trader alone imported 1263 tusks, weighing 4564 kg, in 1984. Hong Kong
reported importing one shipment of 447 tusks (1533 kg) directly from Chad
in January 1984, two shipments via Belgium containing 581 tusks (2544 kg)
in September 1984, and four shipments via Japan containing 684 tusks
(2183 kg). It is possible however that the imports from Japan may have
contained ivory shipped from Hong Kong to Japan in 1983.
Japanese Customs statistics for 1984 record a total import of 3156 kg of
ivory of Chad origin, however inspection of Japanese and Hong Kong CITES
statistics reveal that only 410 kg of this came directly from Chad, the
remainder being re-exports from Hong Kong.
The total amount of ivory reaching markets in the Far East that was
exported from Chad in 1984 appears to have been at least 4.5 t, but
considerably less than the previous year. It is likely that the mean tusk
weight was 4 kg or less.
Information from Congo indicates that 12 701 kg of raw ivory was exported
in 1983, the destination being France. However, 11 of the 12 shipments
reported as exports were reported by Japan as coming directly from Congo
so it would appear that they only went through France in transit. The
total comprised 902 tusks averaging 14.08 kg each, and suggests that 480
elephants were involved.
Imports of ivory directly from Congo reported by Japan in 1983 compare
well with Congo's reported exports. Japan's figure for these imports being
14 412 kg, the difference from the figure reported by Congo being caused
by end-of-year shipments. In addition to these however, Japan reported
importing another 16 070 kg of "Congo" ivory via Belgium and 2 797 kg via
Hong Kong. Thus of the 33280 kg of ivory reported to be of Congo origin,
only 43% can be attributable to legitimate exports from the country of
origin during 1983. Unfortunately it is not possible to estimate how much
of this ivory was exported in 1982 and how much represents illegal trade
not recorded by the Congo CITES Management Authority.
In 1984 Congo reported exporting 20 457 kg of raw ivory, 1275 tusks with
an average weight of 16 kg, and again France was reported to be the main
destination. One shipment of 1586 kg, 108 tusks averaging 14.7 kg, was
reported as going to the Ivory Coast.
In the first six months of 1984 Japan reported four shipments directly
from Congo, but only three had a Congo export permit number. It is likely
that the fourth shipment was incorrectly ascribed to Congo and was more
probably ivory of Zaire origin re-exported by Burundi. All three
'legitimate' shipments were also reported as exports by Congo but there
were some interesting discrepancies between the details reported on export
and those reported on import. Congo permit no. 16/84 was apparently issued
for 189 tusks weighing 3012 kg, but an import of 191 tusks weighing
3189 kg was reported by Japan. Permit no. 30/84 was issued for 259 tusks
weighing 4116 kg, and although an identical weight was recorded on import,
the tusk number had increased to 272. Permit no. 32/84 was issued for
98 tusks weighing 2035 kg but according to Japanese data the shipment
consisted of 312 tusks weighing 2095 kg. The same shipping agents were
involved in each case. During 1984 France seized one shipment of ivory
from Congo destined for Japan because the number of tusks in the shipment
far exceeded the number specified on the permit. The original permit was
issued for 203 tusks weighing 3640 kg but the shipment was actually
composed of 713 tusks weighing 3863 kg.
These differences make it very difficult to provide accurate estimates of
the number of elephants involved in supplying the ivory trade. If the
information from the Congo CITES Management Authority is used, a total of
678 elephants with a mean tusk weight of 16 kg is obtained. However, the
effect of compensating for the four shipments mentioned above is to
increase the number of elephants involved to 1071 and to decrease the
average tusk size to 10.4 kg. It is likely that these corrected figures
still overestimate tusk size and underestimate elephant numbers.
Congo also reported exporting tusks which were almost certainly private
hunting trophies. These amounted to 34 tusks in 1983 and 22 in 1984,
average tusk weight being 10.4 kg.
No raw ivory from Equatorial Guinea has been reported in international
The Directeur de la Faune et de la Chasse reports that 19 tusks were
exported as trophies in 1983 and 56 in 1984. The destinations were mainly
Europe with a few going to the USA.
Zaire has the largest population of elephants in Africa but has a ban on
export of raw ivory - CITES Notification No. 148 of 27 August 1980
informed CITES Parties of this and asked that permits from Zaire that were
presented to importing Parties should be sent to the CITES Secretariat for
verification. It is likely, therefore, that ivory traders importing tusks
originating in Zaire will attempt to conceal the true origin of their raw
ivory imports and to route shipments through non-Party states or through
Party states that are prepared to issue re-export certificates. This
process makes estimation of ivory production by Zaire very difficult and
any such estimate should be treated with caution.
It is known that there is a high degree of poaching of elephants in Zaire
(Martin, 1985) and that the ivory is moved to neighbouring countries for
re-export. Burundi, Uganda, Sudan, CAR and Congo are all convenient
outlets and all may have been responsible for re-exporting ivory
originating in Zaire in recent years. Exports reported by Zaire in 1983
and 1984 amount to 28 trophy tusks going to Europe and North America, and
one shipment of 728 tusks weighing 2077 kg that was exported illegally.
If we assume that the official exports reported by Sudan for 1983
represent only Sudanese ivory then there is in the region of another 180 t
re-exported from Sudan whose origin is unknown (see section on Sudan). To
simplify matters therefore, we have assumed that the origin of this ivory
was Zaire. Although it is almost certain that some proportion of this was
taken illegally in CAR and other countries, it is also known that exports
from Congo and CAR include re-exports of ivory from Zaire.
In addition to this 180 t, Japanese Customs statistics record imports of
10 t from Burundi that is likely to have originated in Zaire, and a
further import of 101 422 kg of ivory from Zaire. This latter figure is
20 t more than was reported by the CITES Management Authority, MITI, who
report 80 t of ivory from Zaire imported from Belgium. The total exports
from Zaire in 1983 are likely, therefore, to have been at least 270 t and
may have been over 290 t, particularly if the 11 t reported by Japan as
coming from Uganda actually originated in Zaire.
Japanese Customs statistics report the import of 49 827 kg of ivory from
Zaire in 1984. In addition, imports of 33 118 kg are reported from Burundi
and 99 320 kg from Uganda. As Uganda is unlikely to be the true origin of
this latter quantity (see Uganda section) we have assumed, in order to
simplify calculation, that all the ivory reported as coming from Uganda
and Burundi in 1984 was originally from Zaire. Some of this ivory almost
certainly originated in Tanzania and Zambia. Information from the USA
suggests that 5 t of ivory were imported from Zaire. Hong Kong reports
importing 450 tusks weighing 3 t from South Africa and 234 tusks weighing
3468 kg from Belgium the origin of which was reported to be Zaire. Thus
exports from Zaire in 1984 can be estimated to be between 190 and 200 t.
Burundi has no wild elephant population and thus does not export raw
ivory. However, the central position of the country within Africa means
that it is well situated to re-export ivory from neighbouring countries
such as Zaire that have large numbers of elephants. Until 1980 large
amounts of ivory were re-exported from Burundi to the Far East, Hong Kong
recording imports totalling over 85 t that year. However Hong Kong stopped
importing from Burundi in 1981 and Japan only reported importing 2.5 t
from Burundi that year, the bulk being re-exports from Hong Kong.
At this time the ivory trade began to export ivory from Africa via Sudan
and thus Burundi hardly figured in international ivory trade statistics
for 1982. The Sudanese ban on export of raw ivory which came into force at
the end of 1983 caused ivory traders to once again look to Burundi, and
Burundi Customs statistics report that at least 50 t was re-exported to
Belgium that year. During 1984 the total quantity re-exported may have
been as much as 190 t and in all probability included the ivory reported
by Japanese Customs to be from Zaire and Uganda. The trade route from
Burundi appears to have been mainly via Belgium during 1983 but perhaps as
a result of Belgium becoming party to CITES and introducing stricter
control measures on the ivory trade, it appears that Singapore became the
major transit point, with flights sometimes being routed via Luxembourg,
Portugal or Oman.
In an attempt to prevent illegally obtained ivory leaving Burundi the
CITES Secretariat issued Notification to the Parties No. 303 in July 1984
appealing to the Parties not to accept raw ivory from Singapore.
The latest Customs statistics for Ethiopia relate to 1978. However,
information from Dr Martin indicates that there was no commercial export
of raw ivory in either 1983 or 1984. Export of trophies from safari
hunting amounted to 128 kg during that two year period. It is further
reported (R. Martin, in litt .) that the total stocks held by the
Government and dealers amounts to approximately 1850 kg. However, the
CITES Secretariat has received information that the Hong Kong CITES
Management Authority received two applications to import ivory from
Ethiopia during 1984. These were for 1188 kg and 1720 kg.
The most recent Customs statistics available for Kenya relate to 1982 and
indicate an export of 7276 kg of elephant ivory to Hong Kong. The Hong
Kong CITES report for 1982 records a similar quantity of tusks and scraps
imported from Kenya, with data suggesting an average tusk weight of
5.2 kg. The Japanese annual reports to CITES indicate that 2294 kg of
ivory was imported from Kenya via Belgium in 1982 and a further 500 kg via
Belgium in 1983. The only reported commercial trade in Kenyan ivory during
1984 was 29 tusks reported by MITI to have been imported by Japan from
China, however this transaction did not appear in Japan's Customs
statistics so is likely to refer to carved tusks.
The CITES Management Authority of Rwanda reports that four raw tusks, one
worked tusk and three carvings were exported in 1983 and three raw tusks,
one worked tusk and more than seven carvings were exported in 1984.
Statistics from Somalia indicate that there has only been one commercial
export of ivory during the last two years. This was a shipment of 1170
tusks reported to weigh 7500 kg, and was exported to Abu Dhabi in the
United Arab Emirates in 1983. This shipment of Somali ivory with an
average tusk weight of 6.4 kg was reported by Japan as being imported in
June 1984. The only other ivory of Somali origin reported in trade appears
to have been re-exports of that imported by Hong Kong in 1981 and 1982.
R. Martin ( in litt .) reports that there is apparently still about 40 t of
ivory in store in Somalia awaiting sale.
Statistics from Sudan's CITES Management Authority indicate that 17 248
tusks weighing 150 100 kg were exported in 1983. The Management Authority
has stated, however, that statistics on imports and re-exports of raw
ivory were not recorded in either 1983 or 1984.
Analysis of the data provided by Japan and Hong Kong suggests that the
amount reported by Sudan as being exported represent less than 50% of the
ivory entering world markets in that year that was claimed to be of
Sudanese origin. Hong Kong reported importing 260 885 kg, apparently
directly from Sudan, and Japan reported importing a further 25 744 kg via
Belgium. Thus it appears that at least 286 629 kg may have left Sudan
during the year, although it is possible that a proportion of this
represents ivory originally exported in 1982.
However, Japanese Customs data indicate that over 111 000 kg of ivory
reported to be of Sudanese origin was imported - 20 000 kg more than
indicated by the Japanese annual report to CITES. It is possible therefore
that the amount of ivory leaving Sudan in 1983 was in excess of
306 000 kg. If the officially recorded exports of Sudanese origin amounted
to 150 100 kg it would seem reasonable to assume that the other 156 000 kg
was from sources outside Sudan.
The Sudan Government imposed a ban on export of raw ivory effective from
30 December 1983, however some exceptions were allowed to enable traders
to ship out stock sold for export prior to the ban coming into force.
Official figures indicate that 4471 tusks weighing 23 000 kg were exported
Belgium reported re-exporting slightly over 12 000 kg of Sudanese ivory to
Hong Kong and 11 000 kg to Japan in 1984. However, in the first three
months of that year Japan reported importing from Belgium three shipments
of Sudanese ivory totalling 7233 kg, and a further mixed shipment weighing
7957 kg which allegedly originated in Sudan and Congo. None of these
shipments was reported by Belgium so it would seem likely that they were
re-exported from that country in late 1983. Further, Belgium reported
importing only 1872 kg from Sudan in 1984, and was therefore a net
re-exporter of 21 156 kg of 'Sudanese' ivory. Thus it is likely that
30 000 kg of the estimated 50 000 kg of ivory reaching markets in the Far
East in 1984 were shipped from Sudan in 1983 and should therefore be
included in that year's total.
Hong Kong reported importing 3621 kg of Sudanese origin from F.R.Germany
and 2139 kg from the Netherlands. Japan also reported imports of 6000 kg
directly from Sudan and a further 8000 kg via Singapore. It is possible
that this last shipment was one of the first to use the Singapore route
after controls were tightened in Belgium and, if really of Sudan origin,
it may have left Africa via Burundi.
According to the Tanzanian 1982 annual report to CITES a total of 9436 kg
of ivory was exported for commercial purposes. Hong Kong reported
importing 5248 kg with a mean weight of 10 kg per tusk. Of the remainder,
4119 kg was reported as going to UK and 117 kg to F.R.Germany.
The following year only 781 kg was reported in the Tanzania annual report
as being exported for commercial purposes:- 300 kg to UK, 442 kg to Hong
Kong and 39 kg to Japan. Hong Kong reported importing 544 kg (39 tusks
with a mean weight of 10.6 kg and six tusks with a mean weight of 21.7 kg)
during that year, but reported importing another 2445 kg in 1984. The
latter shipment left Tanzania in 1983 however, and information received
from R. Martin ( in litt . ) suggests that the total commercial export in
1983 was 4620 kg.
No information has been received from Tanzania regarding exports during
1984, but Japanese Customs statistics record a total of 19 932 kg imported
that year. Much of this ivory left Tanzania illegally and was routed
through Dubai and Singapore. One shipment of 960 tusks weighing 5307 kg
was seen by an officer of the CITES Secretariat in Dubai in August 1984
and the same weight is recorded in Japan's Customs statistics for that
In addition, Belgium reports importing 1279 kg directly from Tanzania in
1984 and the United Kingdom imported at least 5565 kg. Thus total legal
and illegal exports from Tanzania in 1984 were at least 26 776 kg
excluding private hunting trophies. The average weight of the tusks
imported by Belgium and the United Kingdom in 1984 was 10.5 kg. If this
value is applied to the total exports for that year, the number of tusks
exported would have been 2563, however it- is quite possible that the
illegal shipments were of tusks of smaller average weight. This number of
tusks represents 1363 elephants.
Private Trophy shipments
According to the Tanzanian 1982 annual report to CITES 226 tusks weighing
5071 kg were exported as private hunting trophies in that year. The mean
weight of these tusks was 22.4 kg and probably represents a total of 120
elephants. The number of tusks exported in 1983 was not reported but the
total weight was 5007 kg, very similar to that in 1982. If the mean weight
for 1982 is used to estimate the number of tusks involved in 1983, this
gives a total of 223 tusks, equivalent to 119 elephants. It would thus
appear that private trophy hunters account for about 120 elephants
annually in Tanzania and that the trophy tustcs weigh over 20 kg each on
According to the Chief Game Warden, Uganda has a complete ban on the
hunting of game animals and thus does not export raw ivory. Any ivory
picked up by the National Parks Department is sold to the country's only
ivory carving craft shop.
Despite this, 7891 kg of ivory, reputedly of Ugandan origin, was recorded
in Japan's Customs statistics in 1982 and a further 11 799 kg was reported
in 1983. No further details are available regarding the number of tusks
involved or their sizes. MITI reported that 7203 kg came via Belgium in
1982 and 9796 kg in 1983 and it is possible that these shipments were the
result of poaching in Uganda.
However in August 1984 the situation altered dramatically - Japan's
Customs statistics for that month record the import of 20 277 kg of ivory
from Uganda. This was followed by 17 706 kg in September, 18 550 kg in
October and 42 787 kg in December which brought the total for the year to
99 320 kg. Martin (1985) has estimated the elephant population of Uganda
to be around 2000 animals so this near 100 t is unlikely to have
In August 1984 a group of Japanese ivory importers undertook to stop
importing ivory from Burundi and Zaire and it is perhaps significant that
the Japanese Customs statistics show no imports from Burundi after July
1984, when 27 t were imported, but massive imports apparently from Uganda.
It seems likely that the source of this ivory was the same as that
previously reported as coming from Burundi and that the Sudanese ban on
exports and re-exports of raw ivory had forced the trade to find new
No information has been received from Angola and the only reported trade
is of eight tusks, probably hunting trophies, imported into the USA and
one each by France and Switzerland in 1983.
No information has been received from Botswana, so export of raw ivory has
been estimated from imports reported. In 1983 Japan imported 1222 kg of
ivory from Botswana according to Customs statistics. Hong Kong reported
importing 52 tusks weighing 342 kg and the UK reported importing 32 tusks
weighing 444 kg. The number of tusks was not reported by Japan but the
average weight of those imported by Hong Kong and the UK was 9.3 kg. The
USA reported importing 315 kg and 50 tusks from Botswana in 1983.
In 1984 Hong Kong reported importing 482 tusks of Botswana origin via
South Africa, the average weight being 8.5 kg per tusk. Hong Kong also
reported importing tusks from the UK and Japan that originated in Botswana
but it is almost certain that these were part of the 1983 imports by those
It is interesting to note that if the 276 tusks imported by Hong Kong from
Japan in 1984 were part of the 1222 kg imported by Japan in 1983 then
their mean weight of 3.5 kg implies that only a few very large tusks were
retained in Japan, and that the average weight of the tusks in the
Japanese import could not have been in excess of 4.5 kg.
Thus estimated export from Botswana was about 2.5 t in 1983 and 4 t in
1984. The average tusk weight in 1984 was 8.5 kg and in 1983 was 9.3 kg if
data from Hong Kong and the UK alone are used. If the Japanese import is
included in the calculation the average tusk weight may have been as low
as 5.3 kg in 1983.
No information has been received from Malawi and the only raw ivory
reported in trade by importing countries was 20 tusks weighing 430 kg that
Hong Kong imported and subsequently re-exported to Japan, in 1983. Martin
(1985) reports that virtually all ivory in Malawi is carved locally and
trade statistics confirm this.
The CITES Management Authority of Mozambique has informed WTMU that there
has been no commercial ivory trade in that country for the last two years.
There has been one recorded export of two tusks weighing 13 kg each going
to Italy as hunting trophies. However, South Africa reported exporting 1A
tusks weighing 160 kg to the USA in 1984 but there is no indication as to
when these tusks were imported by South Africa.
Namibia reported exporting 247 tusks weighing 1320 kg in 1983 and 688
tusks weighing 2924 kg in 1984. All but three of the tusks exported in
1984 went originally to South Africa, but it is reported that 48 weighing
211 kg were then re-exported to Portugal. The average tusk weights were
5.3 kg in 1983 and 4.3 kg in 1984.
Estimation of the precise amount of South African ivory in trade is
complicated by the Customs Union which means that ivory from Botswana,
SWA/Namibia and Zimbabwe passes through South Africa and its precise
origin is not always correctly reported.
South Africa's CITES Management Authority reported exporting 688 tusks
weighing 6402 kg in 1983 whose origin was stated to be South Africa, and
another 392 tusks weighing 1933 kg of different origin. However, importing
countries report rather more than this. Japanese Customs data show imports
of 12 050 kg during 1983. A large proportion of this was re-exports from
Hong Kong and has been discounted from the calculation of total export;
however data provided by MITI indicate that 1938 kg were imported via
Belgium and this quantity has been included although it may have left
South Africa before 1983. Hong Kong reported importing 2195 tusks weighing
12 385 kg directly from South Africa, the USA reported importing 1800 kg
and information from the trade suggests that at least 55 tusks weighing
1039 kg were imported by the UK. This information from importing countries
suggests that South Africa's true exports in 1983 were at least 17 t with
an average tusk weight of 6 kg. In addition it appears that at least
another 20 t of ivory from neighbouring countries in the Customs Union
were re-exported by South Africa.
South Africa reports exporting 948 tusks weighing 12 481 kg in 1984 of
which 8051 kg was reported as going to Japan. This quantity plus Hong
Kong's re-exports of 7519 kg of South African ivory to Japan closely match
the 15 541 kg reported by Japanese Customs statistics. Hong Kong reported
importing 1858 tusks weighing 13 099 kg in 1984 directly from South Africa,
one UK trader imported 38 tusks weighing 1016 kg and US Customs statistics
record 1413 kg imported from South Africa in the year up to November.
This suggests a total of at least 2 3.5 t coming from South Africa during
1984, with an average tusk weight estimated to be 7.4 kg. At least 5 t of
this total was exported from South Africa in 1983 but did not arrive in
Hong Kong until January 1984. This quantity should therefore be added to
the total for 1983. However, it is not known how many of the imports
reported for 1983 were 1982 exports, but if it were assumed that this was
at least 2 t (reported by Hong Kong as being imported in January 1983)
then annual totals were 20 t in 1983 and 18 t in 1984.
Private trophy shipments
In 1983 63 tusks were exported as private trophies, mainly to Europe and
North America. Tusk weights were recorded for 37 of these and indicate an
average tusk weight of 11.2 kg per tusk. In 1984 114 trophy tusks were
exported, again mainly to Europe and North America. Weights were reported
for 68 tusks which had an average weight of 9.9 kg.
No data are available from Zambia concerning commercial exports of ivory
during 1983. However, information received from one ivory trader indicates
that he imported over 10 t of ivory into Europe from Zambia during 1983
and 1984 and re-exported it to Japan and Hong Kong. CITES data from Japan
and Hong Kong record the same quantity being imported in 1983, the ivory
going to Japan being reported as a re-export from Belgium and that to Hong
Kong as a direct import from Zambia. If this were indeed the same ivory it
is interesting to note that the trader imported 1925 tusks with an average
weight of 5.3 kg and Hong Kong imported 1761 tusks averaging 4.2 kg. This
suggests that the 2803 kg imported by Japan averaged 17.1 kg per tusk, and
that shipments from Africa were being split up in Europe - the smaller
tusks going to Hong Kong and the larger to Japan.
The UK draft annual report to CITES for 1983 records imports totalling
5499 kg from Zambia, and information from the trade suggests that another
723 kg may have been imported. Hong Kong also reported importing Zambian
ivory from South Africa in 1983, but this almost certainly left South
Africa in 1982. Total exports from Zambia during 1983 may therefore have
been in the region of 16 t and the available data suggest an average tusk
weight of about 6 kg.
In 1984 Zambia offered 1900 kg for sale, and Zambian export permit books
showed exports of 577 tusks weighing 1816 kg (R. Martin, in litt .) which
represents an average tusk weight of 3.2 kg. Hong Kong reported importing
47 tusks weighing 673 kg and Japanese Customs data record an import during
September of 1729 kg from Zambia. However, in October 1984 a shipment of
about 375 tusks weighing approximately 1500 kg was observed being imported
into Burundi via Lake Tanganyika. The boat used for this action reputedly
came from Zambia, so it is probable that the ivory did also. Total exports
from Zambia during 1984 would appear to have been around 4 t but it is
impossible to determine the true scale of illegal trade.
Information from Dr Martin indicates that approximately 12 t of ivory are
held in store in Zambia.
The Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management reports
that during 1983 a total of 2550 tusks weighing 8625 kg were sold for
export. Of these 1871 tusks went to South Africa, 663 tusks went to
F.R.Germany and 16 tusks went to Hong Kong. The average tusk weight was
3.38 kg and approximately 1500 elephants were involved. Hong Kong reported
importing a further 24 tusks weighing 475 kg from Zimbabwe during that
year but these were originally exported in 1982.
In 1984 a total of 1786 tusks weighing 9250 kg were exported, 1081 tusks
going to South Africa and 705 tusks to Japan. The average weight of the
tusks was 5.2 kg and represents approximately 1051 elephants. It should be
noted that the figure of 1.7 tusks per elephant has been used in these
estimates of elephant numbers as culling operations in Zimbabwe include
Private trophy shipments
In 1983 Zimbabwe exported 453 tusks weighing 4946 kg as private hunting
trophies, mainly to South Africa, Europe and North America. This suggests
that about 241 elephants with an average tusk weight of 10.9 kg were
involved. In 1984 the number of trophies exported increased to 578 tusks
weighing 5990 kg, thus involving about 307 elephants with an average tusk
weight of 10.4 kg.
Zimbabwe exported about 9 t of raw ivory in both 1983 and 1984 for the
ivory trade. These commercial exports had a very low average tusk weight
and reflect the effect of culling operations. Data for both commercial
shipments and hunting trophies suggest that about 1741 elephants were
involved in 1983 and approximately 1358 in 1984. However in addition to
the ivory exported, Zimbabwe has a flourishing ivory carving industry
which uses an estimated 14 to 15 t of ivory annually (Martin, 1984).
From the 1983 CITES statistics, it appears that there are only twelve
countries that have imported more than 1 t of tusks in 1983: Hong Kong,
Japan, Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, People's Republic of China,
India, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Taiwan, Italy and
Thailand. We have therefore selected these for further consideration. It
should be pointed out that these statistics indicate that the volume of
world trade in tusks in 1983 amounted to at least 761 t plus a possible
maximum of 8440 tusks (if none of them were included in the amount
reported by weight), or (assuming a low 6 kg a tusk on average) 812 t of
ivory tusks .
This does not necessarily represent the quantity that left Africa during
the year, because large quantities have been held in store, in some cases
for more than a year, and because some 1982 exports from Africa may not
appear in trade statistics until 1983 when reported by an importing
country. However, this does mean that an import of 1 t represents only
about 0.1% of the recorded world trade volume. Therefore the listing of
the above countries does not imply any significance in the world trade.
In consideration of the CITES statistics, except where otherwise
specified, trade in scraps and pieces has been ignored; where recorded by
number these data are useless for monitoring purposes. Where there is a
likelihood of overlap between shipments recorded by number of tusks and
those recorded by weight, the record by number has been ignored to avoid
double counting. It should therefore be appreciated that the resulting
estimates may be too low.
As the largest market for raw ivory, Hong Kong and Japan are considered
first, the other main importers being treated in alphabetical order.
JAPAN & HONG KONG
The ivory carving industries of Hong Kong and Japan are the destination of
most of Africa's ivory production. Trading between the two countries is
heavy, and in general larger tusks go from Hong Kong to Japan and smaller
ones from Japan to Kong Kong. The ivory trade of these countries during
1983 was the subject of a study carried out by WTMU on behalf of the CITES
Technical Committee in 1984, and this section of the present report
supplements the information in the earlier report. The data available to
WTMU were:- Hong Kong 1984 statistics provided by the Hong Kong CITES
Management Authority, Japanese statistics for January to June 1984
provided by the Japanese CITES Management Authority and Japanese Customs
statistics of Elephant's tusks, including waste and powder, for January to
Table 1 shows the origins of Hong Kong's gross imports of raw ivory from
1981 to 1984. Trade data for 1981 to 1983 are taken from Caldwell (1984).
Reported origin of gross Imports of whole tusks (kg) by Hong Kong 1981-84
COUNTRY 1981 1982 1983 1984
Total 487224 446298 557854 248910
It is clear from Table 1 that Hong Kong's ivory trade underwent a dramatic
change in 1984. Gross imports fell by 55% of their 1983 level and the
total was the lowest recorded since Hong Kong began reporting to CITES in
1978. The greatest difference between 1983 and 1984 is the quantity
reported to have been imported from Sudan. This fell from 269 t to 25 t
and clearly reflects Sudan's ban on exports. Imports from CAR also fell by
120 t and those from Chad from 31 t to 6 t which may reflect the reduced
quantities leaving those countries in 1984. The decline is also partly due
to Belgium implementing stricter control measures after ratifying CITES.
Japan's gross imports do not show a similar decline. Customs statistics
for 1984 record the import of 473 782 kg, only 2 t less than the record
import of 475 t imported in 1983. Large amounts of CAR and 'Sudanese'
ivory that left Belgium in late 1983 were imported during January and
February and then imports fell to a low of 11.6 t in April. However by
June the trade appears to have recovered from the combined effects of the
export ban in Sudan and the stricter control measures in Belgium, and the
second half of the year shows large quantities of ivory reported to be
coming from Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. Japan's gross imports are shown
in Table 2.
Japanese Imports of elephant tusks, including waste and powder 1984
Total imports by Japan and Hong Kong combined (excluding those from each
other) were about 755 t in 1983 and fell to 501 t in 1984. Analysis of the
data by the method used previously (Caldwell, 1984) suggests that about
71 619 tusks were involved during 1984 and that the average tusk weight
was 7 kg. The results of this analysis are shown in Table 3.
Import of raw tusks by Hong Kong and Japan corrected to eliminate double-counting
1981 1982 1983 1984
HK JP HK JP HK JP HK JP
Weight (t) 371.3 300.6 344.6 256.2 413.7 341.2 193.7 307.1
Total 671.9 600.7 754.8 500.8
76865 21345* 77392 26411* 91978 35067* 42455 29164*
98210 103803 127045 71619
weight (kg) 4.83 14.08 4.45 9.70 4.51 9.73
HK+JP combined 6.8 5.8 5.9
40886 11354 41165 14048 48829 18653 22582 15513
52240 55213 67482 38095
on basis of
HK + JP = 83%
*Estimated on the basis of the average weight of tusks re-exported by Hong Kong to
For 1984 however it is possible to estimate the number of tusks involved
in the trade using the average tusk weights derived from Japan's imports
reported by MITI for the first six months of the year.
Japan's total import for 1984, less the tusks and scraps from Hong Kong
and the ivory from Burma, amounts to 415 502 kg. If we assume that the
average tusk weight for the year was the same as during the first six
months (7.72 kg) the number of tusks imported by Japan would have been
53 822. Hong Kong only imported 85 326 kg (13 179 tusks) that did not pass
through Japan. Thus the total import in 1984 of Japan and Hong Kong
combined is estimated to have been 67 001 tusks weighing 500 828 kg. This
produces an average tusk weight of 7.47 kg and suggests that 35 639
elephants were involved.
In addition to whole tusks, Hong Kong imports a considerable quantity of
ivory scraps and cut pieces. This amounted to 100 t in 1983 and 125 t in
1984, however most of this was imported from Japan and does not increase
the estimated amount of ivory reaching the Far East.
Hong Kong's re-exports in 1984 amounted to 99 t, the bulk being composed
of whole tusks going to Japan and India with average weight of 10.5 kg and
4.5 kg respectively. The details are given in Table 4. Japan only reports
re-exports to Hong Kong in both 1983 and the first six months of 1984.
Hong Kong's reported re-exports of raw ivory in 1984
Destination Weight of Tusks Weight of Scraps Total
Because of its historical connections with Central Africa, Belgium has
long played a leading role as a transit centre for ivory coming from
Africa on its way to principal consumer countries. However, Belgium
was not a Party to CITES until 1 January 1984; therefore, for all its
importance, for 1983 we only know of its trade from reports of other
Exports to Belgium in 1983 CITES annual reports totalled 80 550 kg of
tusks plus 33 tusks, the bulk (80 245 kg = 99.6%) being from CAR.
Imports of tusks from Belgium reported by other Parties that year
amounted to 264 085 kg, 99.3% of this (262 376 kg) going to Japan.
This supports the common knowledge that large quantities had been held
in store in Belgium in previous years, but it may also be a result of
large amounts being exported to Belgium but not being reported by the
The CITES Management Authority of Belgium has provided information on
its raw ivory trade in 1984, to the CITES Secretariat. Imports in 1984
totalled 3776 tusks weighing 48 858 kg, plus 2123 kg of cut pieces,
all directly from African countries. Most of the tusks were imported
from CAR (43 147 kg = 88%) including several tons (6847 kg) reported
as originating from Zaire. However, Belgium's reported re-exports in
1984 amounted to 6765 tusks, weighing 71 894 kg (all to Hong Kong and
Japan) and 2425 kg of cut pieces. These records indicate that in 1984
Belgium was again a net re-exporter, of over 23 t of raw ivory.
Japan's reported imports from Belgium in the first six months of 1984
amounted to 114 317 kg of tusks; Belgium only reports re-exporting
35 356 kg to Japan over the year but the discrepancy can to a large
extent be accounted for by shipments which left Belgium in 1983 and
arrived in Japan the following year. Belgium's reported re-exports to
Hong Kong and the reported imports of the latter appear to match
almost exactly except for two shipments from Belgium which in fact
went to Japan.
From discussions with traders and government employees it seems that
there are now unlikely to be large stocks of ivory remaining in
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for Belgium in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
80245 kg tusks
205 kg tusks
1 ivory piece
50 kg ivory scraps
100 kg tusks
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
In the annual reports of CITES Parties, only Hong Kong reports
re-exporting raw ivory to the People's Republic of China in 1983, an
amount totalling 26 912 kg of tusks and 6314 kg of ivory scraps and
pieces. In addition, South Africa has notified WTMU of the export to China
in 1983 of 149 kg of ivory tusks or cut pieces.
Information provided by the CITES Management Authority for Hong Kong
indicates that in 1984 Hong Kong re-exported 124 tusks weighing 2765 kg to
China and 9279 kg of cut pieces and scraps. These are the only data
available on commercial exports to China in 1984.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for China in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
20 kg ivory pieces
212 kg ivory pieces
22876 kg tusks
332 kg ivory pieces
39 kg tusks
1061 kg ivory pieces
2420 kg ivory scraps
2007 kg tusks
2269 kg ivory pieces
1990 kg tusks
Hong Kong Re-exports of Whole Tusks to China 1984
Origin Number Weight
CAR 73 1841.9
CAR 45 906.3
CAR 2 7.5
Congo 4 9
Total 124 2764.7
CITES annual report statistics indicate that France imported at least 9
tusks and 5774 kg of tusks in 1983, of which at least 5 tusks and 4440 kg
came directly from African countries, and that only 27 tusks plus 40 kg
were re-exported from France that year. There is no indication of the
extent of France's trade in raw ivory in 1984.
It is noteworthy that there are two major ivory dealers based in France.
However, much of the ivory in which they deal does not enter France but
passes through in transit or goes via Belgium to Hong Kong and Japan.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for France in 1983
446 kg tusks
194 kg tusks
4 tus ks
36 kg tusks
8 kg ivory pieces
37 kg tusks
2 kg ivory pieces
967 kg tusks (probable error)
4 kg ivory pieces
5 kg tusks
48 ivory pieces
1 kg ivory piece
976 kg tusks
27 kg tusks
74 kg tusks
520 kg tusks
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
CITES annual report statistics indicate that F.R. Germany was the
destination of at least 33 059 kg of tusks plus 1002 tusks in 1983. All
1002 tusks plus 24 A72 kg (74% of the quantity recorded by weight) came
directly from African countries, including 7463 kg (23% of the total) from
Sudan. A large quantity of ivory scraps and pieces is also imported by
Germany, amounting to at least 1532 kg in 1983, nearly all from the UK.
There are few data available on the 1984 imports. The Government of Hong
Kong reports an export to Germany of 7 kg of ivory scraps and pieces;
South Africa exported 6 whole trophy tusks, and a UK trader has informed
WTMU that he exported 17 71 kg tusks and 2423 kg of off cuts to Germany.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for F.R. Germany in 1983
[ NA ]
kg iv or y
CITES annual report statistics for 1983 indicate that India was the
destination of at least 14 332 kg of ivory tusks that year (see below).
Only 82 kg of this (0.6%) came directly from African sources. India is an
ivory carving centre and the world's second net exporter of ivory
carvings. In 1983 it exported at least 12 582 kg of worked ivory,
according to CITES annual report statistics, which is of the same order of
magnitude as the previous two years and may suggest the level of future
demand for the raw material.
India's sources of tusks in 1983 were Hong Kong and the UK. In 1984 Hong
Kong exported 2108 tusks, weighing 9543 kg to India and a major UK trader
re-exported 1555 kg, which is likely to form the bulk coming from this
country. Thus the total known supply of raw ivory to India in 1984 was at
least 11 098 kg of tusks.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for India in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
138 kg tusks
94 kg tusks
1241 kg tusks
1170 kg tusks
734 kg tusks
6517 kg tusks
1217 kg tusks
434 kg tusks
1232 kg tusks
1004 kg tusks
107 kg tusks
82 kg tusks
500 kg tusks
591 kg tusks
682 kg tusks
228 kg tusks
2268 kg tusks
1422 kg tusks
1165 kg tusks
685 kg tusks
404 kg tusks
CITES annual report statistics indicate that Italy imported at least 11
tusks plus 4240 kg of tusks in 1983, of which the 11 tusks and 4086 kg
were imported directly from African countries. A small amount of raw ivory
(6 tusks plus 27 kg) was re-exported in 1983. The ivory is likely to be
used internally for the most part, and Italy is one of the world's major
importers of worked ivory.
We have no statistics relating to Italy's volume of raw ivory trade in
1984, and it does not figure as a country of consignment in the data
provided by Hong Kong and Japan.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for Italy in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
1287 kg tusks
15 7 kg tusks
96 ivory pieces
384 ivory pieces
99 kg tusks
1347 kg tusks
The published Customs statistics of Taiwan (below) indicate that in
1983 Taiwan imported 15 543 kg of raw ivory and 9678 kg from January
to July 1984. The sources in 1984 are not recorded but in 1983 the
main sources recorded were Congo, Central African Republic, Japan
and South Africa, in that order. The import recorded from Japan
compares well with Japan's CITES-repor ted re-export of 2955 kg of
ivory scraps to Taiwan. However, the import reported from Hong Kong
does not compare at all well with that country's data. Hong Kong's
CITES statistics for 1983 record 4517 kg of tusks and 8581 kg of
ivory pieces exported to Taiwan in 1983 and 3516 kg of whole tusks
plus 12 640 kg of cut pieces and scraps in 1984. For 1983 this
leaves a discrepancy between the two countries reports of 12 516 kg.
Some of this might be accounted for by shipments in transit in
Taiwan. However it is likely that much of what Hong Kong reports
appears in Taiwan's statistics by country of origin. Supporting this
idea, the figures on ivory from Tanzania match exactly (cf. tables
below). On the other hand, some origins reported by Hong Kong do not
appear at all in Taiwan's import figures, which may thus be thought
to underestimate the volume of its trade. Moreover, the CITES
statistics for 1983 appear to underestimate Taiwan's imports by
about 10 t.
If Taiwan has not reported imports from Hong Kong by country of
origin, then Taiwan may have imported nearly 29 t of raw ivory in
1983. The data for 1984 are insufficient.
Taiwan's Imports of Raw Ivory
1983 ' 1984 (January to July)
Source - . Statistical Department, Inspectorate General of Customs, Taipei.
Hong Kong Exports of Tusks to Taiwan
Origin Height (kg)
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for Taiwan in 1983
Imports reported Exports reported
2923 kg ivory pieces
1121 kg tusks
4922 kg ivory pieces
2490 kg tusks
58 kg tusks
36 kg ivory pieces
500 kg tusks
500 kg ivory pieces
200 kg ivory pieces
314 kg tusks
71 kg tusks
1100 kg ivory scraps
1855 kg ivory scraps
The most recent Foreign Trade Statistics for Thailand (see below) record a
total import of 5355 kg of unworked ivory from January to November 1983,
59% of this (3146 kg) coming from Sudan. The next most important sources
recorded were Zaire and Hong Kong. Thailand's 1983 import represents an
increase over the total for 1982, which was 3921 kg for the full year (69%
coming from Sudan).
The only CITES statistics for 1983 relating to Thailand are 113 kg of
ivory pieces reported as re-exports by F.R.Germany (which matches the
Thailand data) and 2875 kg of tusks and 2276 kg of ivory pieces
re-exported by Hong Kong. The latter is far greater than the Thailand data
indicate. The discrepancy cannot be explained by assuming that Thailand
was reporting the countries of origin of the imports from Hong Kong,
although the quantity said to originate from Sudan (see below) could have
been included in Thailand's record of Sudanese ivory.
In 1984 Hong Kong reported exporting 70 tusks weighing a total of 1645 kg
and 1491 kg of cut pieces and scraps to Thailand.
On the basis of these data, if the records of Thailand and Hong Kong do
not overlap, Thailand appears to have imported at least 9833 kg of raw
ivory in 1983. The data for 1984 are insufficient.
Thailand's Imports of Unworked Ivory
1983 (January to November)
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics of Thailand, Department of Customs,
Hong Kong Exports of Tusks to Thailand
i Weight (kg)
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for Thailand in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
113 kg ivory pieces
152 kg ivory pieces
991 kg tusks
2124 kg ivory pieces
1395 kg tusks
489 kg tusks
Information provided by the UK CITES Management Authority indicates that
the commercial imports of raw ivory totalled 10 557 kg of tusks plus 1509
tusks in 1983 and 10 185 kg plus 600 tusks plus 7 pieces in 1984. (Records
of 'pieces' were ignored in the 1983 data as being of uncertain status.)
The CITES reports of exporting Parties underestimate the trade to the UK.
However a major UK trader has informed WTMU that his imports of tusks in
1983 totalled 13 388 kg (plus 203 kg of offcuts). 11 555 kg of this came
directly from African countries. In 1984 the same trader imported 9924 kg of
tusks (plus 440 kg of offcuts), of which 1321 kg came from F.R.Germany and
760 kg came from Belgium; the rest (7844 kg) came directly from African
The UK also re-exports raw ivory and, according to CITES statistics,
re-exported at least 13 124 kg of tusks plus 1006 tusks in 1983, making it
a net exporter in that year. One UK trader re-exported 9343 kg (excluding
offcuts) in 1984, and this is likely to form the bulk of UK re-exports in
that year .
1983 Imports to UK of Raw Ivory for Trade Purposes
1984 Imports to UK of Tusks for Trade Purposes
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for United Kingdom in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
AE [XX] 1 tusk
AO 5 ivory pieces
AT [XX] 8 ivory pieces
BE [CF] 1590 kg tusks
BE [XX] 1 ivory piece
BW 8 ivory pieces
BW 518 kg ivory pieces
BW 700 kg tusks
CA [ZA] 43 ivory pieces
CG 2 tusks
CI 6 ivory pieces
CM 6 ivory pieces
CN [XX] 95 ivory pieces
DE [XX] 44 ivory pieces
ES [XX] 4 ivory pieces
FR [SL] 1 tusk
FR [XX] 37 ivory pieces
FR [XX] 1 tusk
GI [XX] 1 ivory piece
HK [XX] 72786 ivory pieces
HK [XX] 3 kg ivory pieces
HK [ZA] 2622 ivory pieces
IN [XX] 925 ivory pieces
IN [XX] 20 kg ivory pieces
IN [XX] 2 tusks
IT [NG] 2 tusks
JP [XX] 7 ivory pieces
KE 4 ivory pieces
KE [TZ] 2 ivory pieces
KE [UG] 20 ivory pieces
MC [XX] 4 ivory pieces
MO [XX] 2 ivory pieces
MW 86 ivory pieces
MW 2 tusks
NG 20 ivory pieces
NG 19 tusk
NG [XX] 3 tusks
NZ [XX] 2 ivory pieces
SD 53 ivory pieces
SE [XX] 1 tusk
SG [XX] 34 ivory pieces
TH [SD] 6460 ivory pieces
TH [XX] 1975 ivory pieces
TZ 152 ivory pieces
TZ 1 kg ivory piece
TZ 4 tusks
TZ 1421 kg tusks 670 kg tusks
US [XX] 8 ivory pieces
US [XX] 1 tusk
US [ZA] 1 tusk
XX 8 kg ivory pieces
XX 56 tusks
ZA 30 ivory pieces
ZA 812 kg ivory pieces
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for United Kingdom in 1983 (cont.)
kg ivory pieces
kg ivory pieces
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
CITES annual report statistics indicate that in 1983 the USA imported at
least 5990 ivory tusks plus 7396 kg of tusks. Of this total, 653 tusks
plus 6179 kg of tusks came directly from African countries, the bulk
coming from South Africa, Zaire, Tanzania and CAR.
US Customs statistics for January to November 1984 record a total import
of 7551 kg of raw ivory, including 7258 kg (96%) coming from African
countries. By far the largest proportion of this is recorded as from Zaire
(5560 kg = 74% of total), which still has a ban on commercial exports.
Data on exports supplied by the Government of South Africa are roughly in
accord with those recorded by US Customs.
CITES Records of Raw Ivory Destined for USA in 1983
Exporter Origin Imports reported Exports reported
103 kg tusks
10 kg tusks
139 kg tusks
67 kg tusks
28 lbs tusks
139 kg ivory pieces
48 ivory pieces
175 lbs ivory pieces
32 kg ivory pieces
1 kg tusk
CITES Records of R aw Ivory Destined for USA in 1983 (cont.)
1239 kg tusks
Recent changes in the trade
The complexities of the ivory trade make the estimation of total ivory
production by Africa very difficult to determine. It has become apparent
during the production of this report that any study based on data provided
the importing countries will not necessarily reflect the current situation
regarding exports from Africa. In addition it must be remembered that the
amount of raw ivory exported is not in itself an absolute measure of the
number of elephants killed. Several African countries have carving
industries which utilize locally obtained ivory.
The current study was limited to trade in 1983 and 1984 so few data were
available from African countries that related to earlier years. From the
available evidence it appears that around 644 t of ivory left Africa in
1983 and about 357 t in 1984 (see Table 5). This latter figure is perhaps
50 t or more short of the true figure for 1984 as no account has been
taken of ivory leaving Burundi towards the end of the year that has not
yet appeared in importing country's trade statistics. Thus real exports
from Africa in 1984 were more likely to have been between 410 t and 450 t.
It is possible that in all the foregoing the figures for 1983 exports are
overestimates as some ivory that left Africa in 1982 may not have been
Japan and Hong Kong between them imported 755 t in 1983 and 501 t in 1984
and other importing counties would have accounted for perhaps as much as
another 100 t in each year. Thus during the two year period there appears
to be a discrepancy of about 450 t between exports and imports. One
possible explanation of this difference is that very large quantities of
ivory left Africa in 1981 and 1982 and were held in store, probably in
Belgium, before reaching their end markets. This appears to have been the
case regarding exports from CAR - over 200 t was reported as being
exported in 1982 but only about half this amount appeared in import
figures - and it seems likely that a similar situation occurred for ivory
leaving Sudan and Burundi. This does imply that well over 1000 t of raw
ivory left Africa in 1982.
Estimated weight (t) of raw ivory exported from Africa 1983 - 1984
Chad 31 4.
CAR 101 42
Congo 14 21
Zaire 270 195
Sudan 150 23
Tanzania 10 32
Zambia 16 4
Zimbabwe 9 10
Botswana 2.5 4
Namibia 1 - 1
South Africa 20 18
Total 644 356.5
Two events caused the ivory trade to undergo a change between 1983 and
1984. These were the ban on exports of raw ivory introduced by Sudan, and
the introduction of stricter control measures by Belgium after that
country ratified CITES. The export ban appears to have been effective and
what little ivory left Sudan in 1984 was sold for export during 1983. The
ban greatly affected Hong Kong's imports because Sudan had previously
been that country's major supplier. One of the differences between the
import policies of Japan and Hong Kong was that Japanese legislation
allowed import of ivory solely on the basis of a country of origin
certificate, whereas Hong Kong requires a CITES export or re-export
certificate. Thus with Sudan closed down and CAR trying to reduce the
level of exports the main outlet for illegally acquired ivory became
Burundi once again. It was possible to ship ivory from Burundi into Japan
but not directly to Hong Kong which explains why Japan's imports show no
difference in quantity between 1983 and 1984 but Hong Kong's imports fell
The effect of the altered situation in Belgium is less easy to, assess but
it appears that the large stocks of ivory were run down during 1983 and
1984, Belgium appearing as a net re-exporter for 1984. As a result of
these changes in Belgium the trade needed a new transit port outside
Africa. Most of the ivory leaving Burundi appears to have gone firstly to
Singapore and ivory from Tanzania appears to have been routed through
Overall, therefore, the traders in Hong Kong have been affected more
severely than those in Japan and imports from Japan formed almost 66% of
Hong Kong's total imports of raw tusks in 1984.
Average tusk, weight
Measurement of the average weight of tusks in trade provides a basis for
computing the effect that trade is having on elephant populations and
indicates which age and size classes of elephant are being killed.
However estimation of average tusk weight from trade data is made
difficult both by the paucity of data available and by the complicated
nature of the trade itself.
Unfortunately average tusk weights cannot be reliably calculated using
the data provided by the exporting countries in Africa because in the
past these have been too few and because the falsification of permits has
allowed exports far larger than may be recorded by the appropriate CITES
Management Authorities (see Congo section).
Given the importance of Belgium as a transit port for trade between
Africa and the Far East, and where sorting of shipments has taken place,
the average weight of tusks imported and re-exported is obviously worth
consideration. These are shown in Tables 6 and 7. However much of the
illegal trade stopped being routed through Belgium in 1984 so that the
import data will not be representative of the pattern in previous years.
Belgium's re-exports for 1984 provide a larger sample than its imports
but the average tusk weight is affected by imports in previous years.
Average tusk weights based on imports by Belgium in 1984
Country of Number of Tusk Mean weight
Origin Tusks Weight (kg) per tusk (kg)
Botswana 6 71 11.83
CAR 2316 36660 15.82
Sudan 281 1872 6.66
Chad 579 2489 4.29
Tanzania 129 1279 9.91
Zaire 426 6487 15.22
Tolal 3737 48858 " 13.07
Average tusk weights based on re-exports from Belgium in
Country of Number of
Zaire 42 6
South Africa 22
per tusk (kg)
6765 71894 10.62
It is well known that the size of tusks that Hong Kong re-exports to Japan
is larger than the average size of those they import and also that Japan
re-exports its small tusks to Hong Kong. Furthermore, shipments of ivory
may be sorted into larger and smaller tusks in Europe before re-export to
the Far East. Thus analysis of average tusk weights imported by either of
the major importers alone will greatly bias the result. In Japan's 1982
and 1983 annual reports to CITES only the weight of ivory imported was
reported and not the numbers of tusks involved. So in previous studies of
the trade, carried out by WTMU (WTMU, 1983; Caldwell, 1984), the average
weight of tusks imported by Japan has been estimated on the assumption
that it would be equivalent to the average weight of the tusks re-exported
to Japan by Hong Kong. This has nonetheless tended to give a lower average
weight than that suggested by Parker and Martin (1983) who based their
estimate of Japan's imports on information supplied by Japanese traders.
If we treat Hong Kong's 1984 data as outlined above, the average weight of
Kong Kong's imports less the re-exports to Japan appears as 4.6 kg and the
re-exports to Japan as 10.5 kg.
However MITI have, for the first time, provided tusk numbers as well as
weight for Japan's imports during the first six months of 1984, and it is
therefore possible to estimate the average weight of Japan's imports more
precisely. In order to obtain average tusk weight therefore, the Japanese
import data for the first six months of 1984 and the Hong Kong import data
for the same period were used and any trade between the two countries was
discounted. It is appreciated that there may still be biases caused by
sorting at the point of export or re-export but, as the combined imports
of Japan and Hong Kong span the full range of tusk weights and account for
around ninety per cent of the ivory leaving Africa, any such bias should
be negligible. As much of the ivory imported by Japan and Hong Kong comes
via Belgium and includes tusks from elephants that died several years
previously, the overall average tusk weight does not necessarily reflect
the current status of wild populations.
Average tusk weights based on imports by Japan and Hong Kong
January - June 1984
Japanese imports in the first six months, other than from Hong Kong were
20 678 tusks weighing 159 833 kg which gives an average weight of 7.7 kg.
This is much lower than has been estimated for Japan in the past. Hong
Kong's imports over the same period, excluding those from Japan, were 6669
tusks weighing 36 717 kg, an average of 5.5 kg per tusk. The average tusk
weights from Japan and Hong Kong combined are shown in Table 8.
Thus the average weight per tusk, estimated from information provided by
Japan and Hong Kong, is about 7.2 kg. However due to the lack of
information about tusks imported by Japan in the second half of 1984,
particularly those reported to be from Uganda, there is no guarantee that
this figure is correct for the whole year. It should be stressed that, as
this figure was calculated by a different technique to that used in
earlier reports (WTMU, 1983; Caldwell, 1984) it is not directly comparable
to the estimations for previous years.
If the average tusk weight of Japan's first six months trade is applied to
its imports (from Customs data) over the whole year, the overall average
tusk weight for Japan and Hong Kong is increased to 7.47 kg. However, the
production of this figure introduces added uncertainty by the assumption
of constant average tusk weight, and we recommend the use of 7.2 kg.
(n.b. but see addendum below)
Falsification and forgery of documents is common practice in the ivory
trade within some African countries and the CITES Secretariat's files
contain many examples of permits that have been queried, particularly by
the Hong Kong Management Authority. Such falsification often conceals the
true origin of ivory in trade and, as mentioned previously, severely
hampers estimation of realistic average tusk weights. In addition, it
deprives African countries of the full revenue from ivory exports. During
1984 the authorities in both CAR and Congo took action against traders who
were involved in such activities.
Barzdo, Jonathan. 1984: The Worked Ivory Trade. Traffic Bulletin
Vol. VI, No. 2.
Caldwell, J.R. 1984; Recent Developments in the Raw Ivory Trade of
Hong Kong and Japan. Traffic Bulletin Vol. VI, No. 2.
Froment, J-M. 1984; Sexploitation des Elephants, Amgnagement de la
Faune Rgpublique Centrafricaine , FAO report CAF/78/006.
Martin, E. 1984; Zimbabwe's Ivory Carving Industry, Traffic Bulletin
Vol. VI, No. 2.
Martin, R. 1985: Establishment of African Ivory Export Quotas and
Associated Control Procedures , A report prepared for the CITES
Parker, I.S.C. and Martin, E. 1982: How Many Elephants are Killed for
the Ivory Trade? Oryx Vol. XVI, No. 3.
Parker, I.S.C. and Martin, E. 1983: Further Insight into the Ivory
Trade. Oryx Vol. XVII, No. 4.
WTMU. 1983: The Hong Kong and Japanese Trade in Unworked Ivory 1979 -
1982. Traffic Bulletin Vol. V, No. 1.
Average tusk weights
After completion of this report, further information was received from the
Management Authority of Japan which covered Japan's imports of raw ivory for
the period July - December 1984. This has enabled us to recalculate the
average weight of tusks imported by Hong Kong and Japan during 1984 using a
much larger sample size. Table 8 has been updated and is presented below.
Table 8 (revised)
Average tusk weights based on imports by Japan and Hong Kong
Thus the average weight of tusks in 351 t of raw ivory imported by Japan and
Hong Kong in 1984 was 6.69 kg, 0.5 kg less than was suggested by data for the
first six months of the year. Although Japan reported importing at least
another 68 t for which tusk weights were not available, it is unlikely that
these would increase the average weight as the mean tusk weights of shipments
from the same sources were generally below 6 kg.