Via Electronic Delivery:
Eng. Muna Omran Al Shamsi – Acting Director Biodiversity Department CITES United Arab Emirates
Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri – Minister of Climate Change and Environment United Arab Emirates
Ms Ivonne Higuero – CITES Secretary General
Ms Sofie H. Flensborg – Legal Affairs and Compliance CITES Secretariat
Mr Thomas De Meulenaer – CITES Secretariat Chief Science Unit
Ms Carolina Caceres – Chair of CITES Standing Committee
Mr Mathias Lortscher – Chair of CITES Animals Committee
Namibia CITES Authority
Mr Mpho Tjiane – Department of Environmental Affairs CITES South Africa
Honourable Minister Barbara Creecy – Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment
Co-Chairs of the African elephant Coalition
27 October 2021
Honourable Representatives and Chairs,
URGENT OPEN LETTER
THE EXPORT OF WILD CAUGHT DESERT ELEPHANTS FROM NAMIBIA TO THE UAE
The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) is an international community of diverse individuals and organizations, comprising specific expertise, from both western and eastern academies, on wild and captive elephants, including the fields of science, health, conservation, elephant welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law.
Please find attached our correspondence to the Namibian CITES Authorities and to the CITES Secretariat and relevant CITES Committees in August and September 2021. Our correspondence clearly articulated Namibia’s obligations under CITES and carefully pointed out the roles and responsibilities of CITES Secretariat, CITES Committees and the Member States which are signatories of the Convention.
Members of PREN have subsequently received reliable information that indicates that the selection and capture of wild elephant family groups in Namibia has already taken place and that the permits have in all likelihood been issued. The information further suggests that the elephants are in quarantine in preparation for export.
There is a distinct possibility that these elephants have been selected from a small and fragile population in the North- West of Namibia.
Furthermore, the information we have to hand is that a South African wildlife trader/broker is involved in this process and that the elephants are destined for two captive locations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE does not have an in situ population of elephants. The UAE has already imported wild elephants from Namibia who are kept in captivity in Safari Parks and private zoos1.