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Botswana clams up on ivory sale details

Staff Writer
Botswana will be among four African countries that will be selling ivory this week.The auction opens almost 10 years after it was closed in southern Africa in 1999.

Other countries that will dispose of their stockpiles are Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. They will auction more than 100 tons of ivory to buyers from Asian countries, China and Japan.

According to BBC news, the 1999 auction raised about US $5m for conservation and community projects. Botswana will sell 44 tons of her stockpile, says BBC.

With the involvement of Chinese buyers, the article says, a total bounty of $30m or P210m is said to be possible this time around.

Namibia was expected to auction its stockpile of nine tons early this week, whilst the South African and Zimbabwean sales take place next week.

Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila declined to give details on the sale. He fears that by so doing, he would divulge information

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that poachers may use to poach elephants. 

"When you show the value of ivory you encourage poaching because they know what the price was when we sold ivory nine years ago.

These people are committed criminals. They would calculate and estimate the present selling price of ivory," he said.

He feels that if they know the price, the poachers would then be motivated to poach more and contribute to the illicit trade of ivory.

He also refused to say where the auction will be conducted and how much they are expecting from it. He could only say that "I will tell you after the sale what we will do with the money," he said, adding that the funds would be channeled to environment conservation related projects.



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