Delegates attending CITES CoP18 (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 18th Conference of the Parties) are being asked to take action to regulate the trade of woolly mammoth ivory.

Delegates are expected to vote on this issue this week.

WCS supports a proposal by Israel to list the woolly mammoth on Appendix II, which would allow for monitoring and regulation of the trade. Importantly, it would also facilitate study of the impacts of legal trade in woolly mammoth ivory on the illegal trade in ivory from extant species of elephants.

Said Dr. Susan Lieberman, Vice President of International Policy at WCS: “It’s ironic that an extinct species may be helping drive depletion of an existing species, but that’s what may be happening with the woolly mammoth and its ivory.

“We urge governments to adopt this proposal to allow us to examine whether mammoth ivory trade is facilitating the illegal trade in elephant ivory and, if so, focus on greater enforcement to ensure the conservation of wild elephants.

“Facilitated by the climate crisis reducing the permafrost, mammoth skeletons are increasingly becoming more accessible, and are being excavated at increasing rates, especially in the Russian Federation, where their ivory is exported to markets in Asia and possibly beyond.

“At present, the trade is largely unmonitored and unregulated. Its impact on the illegal trade of ivory from elephant species is not clear, but the presence of large quantities of legal mammoth ivory in markets potentially allows for laundering of ivory from poached elephants into such markets, and for confusion among potential consumers.”

For decades, WCS has helped to strengthen and secure elephant strongholds working in 12 African range states and throughout Asia.

WCS is a strong supporter of CITES, has staff who have attended all meetings of the Conference of the Parties since CoP7 in 1989, and will be represented by many international wildlife and policy experts at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in Geneva, Switzerland. WCS views on the proposals to amend the Appendices are based on the CITES listing criteria, the best available scientific and technical information, and information from our field and country programs around the world. To learn more about WCS recommendations go HERE. WCS’s ‘on-the-ground’ presence across much of the globe enables it to address multiple aspects of wildlife exploitation and trade, including wildlife crime, at all points along the trade chain in source, transit and consumer countries.