Letter: Ivory ban was brought in after 'sustainable utilisation' policy failed

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was pleased to read Raymond Bonner's piece ('The hype is as high as an elephant's eye') in Saturday's Independent as it does much to set the facts on conservation and the ivory trade straight.

While working in Zimbabwe last year, during the worst drought in living memory, I remember feeling sickened by the sight of warehouses stacked with unsellable culled ivory, while at the same time the country was being impoverished by the need to spend scarce foreign currency reserves on importing maize from the United States.

As a consequence of an effective conservation policy, Zimbabwe is now overpopulated by elephants and herds have to be regularly culled in order to preserve the ecological balance and to prevent the countryside being completely destroyed and turned into desert. Each tusk from these culled animals could fetch the price of feeding a Zimbabwean village for a month.

What right, then, do a few hysterical busybodies in the West have to deprive Zimbabweans, among others, of using this, one of their few valuable resources? Any ban on the sale of ivory should be applied only to countries or regions where the elephant population is at risk.

Yours sincerely,


London, E17

11 April