Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
(Reporting from CITES in Geneva)
When is an elephant like a fish? I was wondering about this today ... why?
Well, let’s imagine that the EU — including the UK — recognised that an increasingly rare fish species — found only in EU waters — was subject to high levels of illegal trade. Let’s imagine too that the EU felt that the best way to protect this species was to prevent all further trade. It might be anticipated that other countries, such as all the African countries (none of which had this fish species), would support the EU in its effort to prevent the fish from becoming extinct. That’s what you’d do right? Support the EU in its effort to prevent further decline. It’s polite, respectful, and appropriate.
Now imagine that those same African countries decided that they did not want any further trade in ivory to be legalised. That they wanted their elephants to benefit from maximum protection and that to do so, trade in ivory with a fabulously wealthy state known to be a major illegal ivory trade destination would have to be shelved. Wouldn’t you expect the EU to show respect and support Africa in their endeavours?
The EU has no elephants but continually acts as if it does and consistently ignores the views of the many (majority) of African elephant Range States who want no more trade. Why? I don’t know. With power comes responsibility and, frankly, that’s in very short supply here in Geneva.
Oh, and by the way, after yesterday’s high-risk vote approving the inclusion of China as an ivory stockpile trader, two female Chinese nationals were intercepted at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, caught in the act of smuggling nearly 40 pieces of ivory out of the country.
It’s endless and it’s going to get worse — and the CITES Standing Committee has just, in my view, made things a whole lot worse.