§ Mr. Bellingham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received in respect of proposals to move the African elephant from appendix I to the convention on international trade in endangered species to appendix II; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Baldry
I have held a number of meetings with a wide variety of elephant interest groups and independent experts.
The Government have repeatedly stated their full and unflinching commitment to maintaining the current ban on trade in elephant products as long as it is necessary to ensure the survival and recovery of African elephant populations. Moreover, there is no question of our agreeing to any changes which would not meet the stringent conditions specified when the ban was agreed in 1989.
We are not convinced that the time is right for a resumption in the trade in elephant products. We therefore intend to press strongly at the forthcoming conference of the parties to CITES in Kyoto for the retention of African elephants in appendix I to the convention.