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Cablegate: Cites: Tanzania Pushes for Ivory Sales

VZCZCXRO4119
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHDR #0097 0331238
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021238Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9320
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3368
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0103
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1607
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1575
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 3130
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS DAR ES SALAAM 000097

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

AF/E FOR JTREADWELL
OES/ENRC FOR LLOYD GAMBLE

ADDIS ABABA PASS TO REO KIRSTEN BAUMAN

INTERIOR FOR USFWS MICHELLE GADD, RICHARD RUGGIERO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID KSCA CITES AORC UNEP TZ KE
SUBJECT: CITES: TANZANIA PUSHES FOR IVORY SALES

REF: A.09 STATE 125262 B. STATE 6668

1. (U) SUMMARY. In a January 28 meeting with Econoff, Tanzania
Director of Wildlife Erasmus Tarimo sought U.S. support for
Tanzania's proposal to "downlist" the African elephant at the
upcoming CITES meeting, so as to permit Tanzania to sell its ivory
stockpile. Tarimo expressed mild interest in the U.S. CITES
proposals. Tarimo also provided an update on Tanzania's plan to
import rhinos from South Africa to Serengeti National Park in Spring
2010. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Tarimo took the opportunity of Econoff's visit to press for
Tanzania's proposal to downlist the African elephant from Appendix I
to Appendix II, which he said would allow a "one-off" sale of
Tanzanian (and other) ivory stockpiles. Likening the ban on the
ivory trade to the failed U.S. attempt to enforce prohibition of
alcohol, Tarimo argued that the ban increases the international
price of ivory without deterring poaching. He said Tanzania lacks
the capacity to stop poaching because of its huge land area, limited
resources, and the limitless demand of the Asian market, not to
mention traders who corrupt Tanzanian officials. Tarimo added that
the USD 20 million estimated proceeds from a sale would be used for
anti-poaching activities, while maintaining the existing stockpiles
diverted government funds from more effective uses. Tarimo
suggested sales would also benefit local communities currently
implicated in increasing human-elephant competition for land; if the
communities saw the value, they would appreciate and protect the
elephants. Tarimo acknowledged that Kenya opposed Tanzania's
proposal; he commented that Kenya's elephant population continued to
decline, despite a hunting ban and anti-poaching efforts, while
Tanzanian elephants continued to increase.

3. (SBU) Comment: We understand that the U.S. position on Tanzania's
proposal remains under review. Without addressing the broader
effects of the proposal, we question whether Tanzania would devote
all proceeds from a sale to anti-poaching, in particular if the sale
were to occur in 2010, an election year. We doubt Tanzania would
agree to third-party custodianship of proceeds from ivory sales.
End Comment.

4. (U) With respect to ref B demarche, Tarimo and his two deputies
were mildly supportive of our proposal to organize a workshop on
snake trade regulation. He had no comment on the U.S. shark
proposal and said Tanzania would likely support placing red and pink
corals under CITES Appendix II, which would allow for licensed
trade. Tarimo said he would attend the March 13-25 CITES meeting, as
would Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Shamsa Mwangunga and
the ministry's Permanent Secretary. He said Fisheries would also be
represented, but had no additional information about the
delegation.

5. (U) Tarimo said plans were proceeding to reintroduce ten East
African rhino currently in South Africa to Serengeti National Park
in May 2010, an operation with funding from the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and the Paul Tudor
Jones Family Foundation. He noted funding had only been identified
to fly in this first batch, but that more support was needed to
eventually bring in an additional 22 rhinos. He stressed the rhinos
would be well-monitored and cared for en route.

6. (U) Point of contact on ESTH issues at post is Econoff Emily
Shaffer. She can be reached at +255-266-8001 X4521 or
shafferec@state.gov.

LENHARDT

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