Angola pledged to end the ivory trade in the country and to increase control of traffic at the international airport in Luanda, during the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, held in Cairo, announced the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In a statement, UNEP classifies Luanda’s decision as a “major advance against the ivory trade” as it promises to “close one of the largest domestic ivory markets in the world.”
The Angolan Environment minister, Maria de Fátima Jardim, said at the conference that the government of Angola is determined “to end the ivory trade.”
Angola has already begun working with traders at Benfica market on the outskirts of Luanda, where large quantities of carved ivory are sold, among other legal souvenirs to foreign visitors, said Abijah Huongo, director of the National Institute of Biodiversity and Conservation Areas.
“We informed traders of our intention to end ivory sales at the Benfica market, but we must be careful to ensure that does not push the trade underground, making it more difficult to eradicate,” said Abijah Huongo.
The number of elephants killed in Africa exceeds 20,000 per year, of an estimated population of 420-650,000. However, there are reports that 100,000 elephants have been killed in just three years, between 2010 and 2012, which may mean that the elephant population may actually be much lower. (macauhub/AO)