The 12 day Wildlife meeting starts on 24 September 2016 in the South African city of Johannesburg to discuss how to protect the endangered fauna of the planet. It will have the plight of the African Elephants and Rhinos top on their agenda. A loose coalition of 29 countries is trying to reach a consensus on a total halt in trade of ivory. However, skeptics say that it will only lead to an increase in illegal trading.
The meeting will be attended by thousands of conservationists and officials from different nations to hammer out an agreement which will regulate the international trade in ivory and curb poaching of elephants and African Rhino.
It is no secret that there exists a booming illegal trade in wildlife which is putting immense pressure on the treaty which was ratified by more than 180 countries under the ambit of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The two-week meeting will be dominated by discussions about changing the trade control rules about 500 species of wild animals and plants which include pangolin, rosewood, elephant and the rhino which are being slaughtered mercilessly for their tusks and horns.
Most of the countries agree that there is an urgent need to do something to save the flora and fauna of the planet but have differing views on how to achieve this. Namibia and Zimbabwe want to sell the existing stocks of ivory and rhino horns on the plea that it will help finance the conservation efforts. However, other countries want a total ban arguing that more animals will be slaughtered if a deadline is set for ending the trade in animal products.
A recent survey has revealed that there is a decline of 30% in elephant population in the last seven years. The trade of Rhino horns had been banned 40 years ago but still illegal trade is continuing and flourishing. In the last eight years a quarter of the total population of Rhinos of 20,000 have been killed, a majority of them in South Africa.
The demand for horns in South East Asian countries like Vietnam and China has fuelled the illegal trade of animal parts. These animal parts are used as ingredients in a variety of traditional medicines whose efficacy has never been scientifically proven.