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Elephants: Africa

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 52512, tabled on 11 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions her Department has had with governments in African countries with an elephant population on the survival of that animal in the wild.

Answered on

17 November 2016

The UK is actively supporting efforts to ensure the survival of tigers, rhino and elephant in the wild and this involves discussions with key range countries.

I attended the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of Parties held in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October, where the UK, working with the Member States of the European Union and Asian and African range countries, played a leading role in achieving strong outcomes for tigers, elephants and rhinos that will help ensure their survival in the wild.

For example, the UK engaged with influential tiger range countries such as India to ensure substantial decisions relating to enforcement and tiger breeding facilities were adopted. Through our work as Chair of the CITES Rhino Working Group we discuss conservation and illegal trade issues with both African and Asian countries which have populations of rhino. Elephant and ivory issues formed a significant part of the conference and the UK discussed these issues with a wide range of countries, including a number of African range states. The CITES Conference also adopted decisions in relation to cheetahs which the UK supported although we had no direct engagement in those discussions.

Poaching is a major threat to elephants, rhino and tigers and the UK has played a leading role in efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade. The UK was represented by the Secretary of State at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Vietnam conference, on 17-18 November in Hanoi, where the UK goal is to promote further international practical action on the key themes identified and the commitments agreed at the London Conference in 2014. As part of this we have discussed this matter with a number of key range states, as well as transit and consumer countries.