Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Zim sells Ivory to raise money

from the AP

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Zimbabwe's sale of almost 4 tons of ivory Monday raised $450,000 for conservation in a country whose economic crisis has left authorities battling to maintain vast reserves and protect elephants, rhinos and other game...

Last year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ruled that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe could sell 108 tons of stockpiled ivory to approved Japanese and Chinese buyers. The final sale will take place in South Africa this week.

The funds from Monday's sale will be used for elephant conservation and to help authorities better manage the country's national parks, said Morris Mtsambiwa, director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks Authority.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis, which has led to a critical shortage of food, fuel and other basic goods, has had a devastating effect on a country once known for its natural beauty and wealth of wildlife.

Endangered rhinos are being killed by poachers while the illegal trade in game meat is flourishing as hungry Zimbabweans turn to alternative sources of food.

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