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CITES chief in southern Africa to supervise ivory auctions

CITES said that all proceeds of the sale are to be used for elephant conservation products.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Oct 27, 2008
CITES chief Willem Wijnstekers is in southern Africa for two weeks to oversee auctions of some 108 tonnes of ivory, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora said Monday.

Wijnstekers arrived Monday in the Namibian capital Windhoek, where the first auction of nine authorized tonnes of ivory will be held tomorrow, said the UN-backed group.

Botswana will follow with the next auction of 44 tonnes on October 31; Zimbabwe host an auction of four tonnes, while South Africa will auction 51 tonnes, the group said.

Ivory sales were approved in July by CITES, with China and Japan expected to be among the biggest buyers, after CITES agreed over the last two years to allow them to take part in legal auctions.

Wijnstekers is expected to hold talks with Chinese and Japanese authorities, as well as with traders on the margins of the auctions, on how CITES intends to oversee the trade after the ivory arrive in those countries.

CITES said that all proceeds of the sale are to be used for elephant conservation products. The last sale in 1999 earned five million dollars (four million euros), it added.

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