Ten African countries accuse the European Union of failing to protect hippos | endangered species

Ten African international locations have accused the European Union of endangering the survival of the hippopotamus by not supporting it Proposed commercial trade banin paperwork seen by The Guardian.

Poaching for meat and ivory is believed to have worn out the hippopotamus inhabitants in 5 African international locations: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Liberia and Mauritania. However Brussels plan to oppose An try to ban international commerce in hippopotamus merchandise within the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (citing) Conference In Panama from November 14.

This, in flip, has raised grave issues on the way forward for this species” from 10 international locations – Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo – which co-authored a letter to European Commission.

“By publicly opposing our proposal, the European Union is jeopardizing the alternatives of the West and Central African area, that are vary international locations for greater than half of the hippo inhabitants, to make sure satisfactory survival of the species,” the letter, dated 20 September, says. “Hippos have been silently dying for 30 years. We should act rapidly earlier than they develop into extinct.”

Ivory hunters worth hippo enamel, and so they have been among the many most typical mammal elements captured in 2020, based on the European Commission report. Between 2009 and 2018, the merchandise of practically 14,000 hippos have been traded or shipped globally as trophies for looking, According to the Cites Trade Database.

Though the world’s inhabitants is estimated at 115,000-130,000, semi-aquatic mammals have skilled an general inhabitants decline of between 30% and 50% over the previous decade.

A common hippopotamus with its mouth wide open in the river
Hippos are poached illegally to get their enamel. Photograph: Clément Philippe / Artera Photograph Library / El Alami

In 2016, they have been rated as vulnerable to extinction within the wild on the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Purple Listing, which stated inhabitants developments at about thirds Of the international locations of the vary have been declining or unknown.

Hippos, the third largest land mammal after elephants and rhinos, are threatened by poaching, habitat loss and degradation, the local weather disaster and battle with increasing human settlements.

Hippopotamus teams “weren’t dealing with these threats equally. Extra substantial declines have been noticed in West and Central African international locations in opposition to stability and in some locations a rising inhabitants… Within the strongholds of jap and southern Africa.New [assessment] Slated for 2024 or 2025.”

An IUCN evaluation of the Panama convention stated that as a result of international hippopotamus numbers haven’t declined by greater than 50% over the previous decade, the species “therefore doesn’t seem to satisfy the organic standards for inclusion in Appendix 1”, which lists species that can not be traded internationally attributable to extinction threat. .

The Fee is discussing its ultimate place on this challenge with the European Union international locations. Officers say neither the size of the unlawful commerce nor the decline in hippos numbers is sufficient to justify a commerce ban.

A spokesman for the fee stated: “The fee takes its commitments to biodiversity conservation very severely.” “The European Union aspires to form international efforts to halt and reverse the continuing decline of biodiversity.”

Nonetheless, a dozen conservation NGOs argue that the EU’s place on hippos and different species conflicts with its personal. precautionary principle And the biodiversity strategy.

“Most of the committee’s positions replicate a really slim interpretation of the standards for the Cites Listing,” they are saying in a letter signed by teams together with Humane Society Worldwide, Born Free and Professional wild animals. “The committee ignored the precautionary precept by pointing to limitations on accessible scientific information as justification for not supporting proposals for itemizing, even when a lot of these monitoring would profit to make sure that worldwide commerce is authorized and innocent.”

Sluggish-breeding species reminiscent of hippos solely have offspring each two years, whereas crocodiles can lay 60 eggs in a clutch, resulting in a “ridiculous” state of affairs the place present Annex I guidelines could assist animals that may rapidly get better from declining numbers however don’t, she stated. The message that may be eradicated.

In September, the European Parliament Call on the Fee to take a extra formidable place in Panama and assist the Annex 1 case for hippos and different species.

discover extra Extinction coverage age hereand observe biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston And the Patrick Greenfield On Twitter for the most recent information and options

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