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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Wildlife trade: UN expert Willem Wijnstekers answered your questions
Select the link below to watch the Talking Point debate with Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

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Five African countries are calling for a lift of the international ban on ivory sales ahead of a meeting of the United Nations agency that polices trade in endangered wildlife species.

The ivory ban was imposed by the Convention on the International Trade in Engandered Species, Cites, in 1989 after a wave of poaching across Africa which saw elephant numbers fall from an estimated 1.3 million to a few hundred thousand.

Japan has also rmade a request to Cites to resume trade in whalemeat from Minke and Bryde's whales, to allow it to buy Norway's surplus meat.

The Convention was drawn up to protect wildlife against over-exploitation and to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction.

But many believe that the controls to protect some species, like elephants and whales, go too far and that trading bans should be relaxed to allow local communities and conservation programmes to benefit.

Should poor countries be more free to harvest wildlife resources to help generate income and jobs or are trade controls an essential way to protect wildlife from extinction?

Links to more Forum stories are at the foot of the page.


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