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Debate on whether to sell confiscated ivory stocks to fund conservation heats up before CITES summit

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe — A decade ago, what was supposed to be a one-off sale of 102 tonnes of ivory from southern African states raised $15 million for conservation and community development. But that sale coincided with a massive increase in levels of poaching across Africa. Now, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe — which host 60 percent of Africa’s remaining elephants between them — have tabled a proposal for a further sale of ivory stocks and a resumption in the trade of elephant hunting trophies.

Speaking to media on June 27 at the Wildlife Economy Summit held in Victoria Falls, President Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe laid out the basic argument: he said the sale of ivory would raise $600 million, Zimbabwe’s share of which would go toward strengthening management of the country’s 11 national parks and conservancies.

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