The international body responsible for protecting endangered animals is to consider relaxing restrictions on the ivory trade, prompting fears such a move could trigger a huge rise in elephant poaching.
Wildlife experts warned against any loosening of the rules as several African countries pushed to end a near-global ban on sales of the material extracted from tusks.
Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe are all demanding they be allowed to sell off stockpiles of raw ivory on their home soil as well as from South Africa.
Zambia, meanwhile, is pressing to have the status of its elephants downgraded to a category “not necessarily threatened with extinction”, allowing its ivory to be legally sold. MORE