Namibia threatened to lead Southern African nations, home to the bulk of the world’s rhinos and elephants, out of a global convention that governs trade in wild plants and animals and their products.
The country was angered after losing a bid to ease controls over products from its white rhino population, which numbers more than 1,000 of the endangered beasts. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora decided in Geneva to retain restrictions on the trade.
“There are countries that hold views that are not based on science. Instead of applying science, they are just politicizing the whole matter”, said Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia’s Environment Minister.
“As the Southern African Development Community region, the region with the largest population of the Rhinoceros species, we will reconsider our staying in CITES if it is the case. We are going to have a meeting and we are going to make a statement”, the minister said.
SADC has 16 member states including Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Southern African countries, generally regarded as having run the best conservation programs in Africa, have been angered by decisions taken at CITES this year.
The group refused to ease controls on elephant ivory to allow several nations sell their stockpiles and banned the export of wild elephants outside of the range where they occur naturally after Zimbabwe sold the animals to zoos in China and other countries.
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