Anti-ivory trade campaigner Catherine Bearder MEP has welcomed today's decision by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to reject a proposal to legalise the ivory trade.
"The ivory trade is no less than a trade in elephant body parts. It is a moral travesty and it must remain illegal", said Catherine.
Zambia and Tanzania had proposed to end the moratorium on the ivory sale ban to allow them to sell their ivory stocks. The prospect of the sale has led to an increase in elephant poaching and it was feared the spike in demand if the sale took place would make this even worse.
Catherine warns, "If you lift the ban, you increase demand and raise the ultimate prospect of extinction.
"In some areas of Africa elephant populations are threatened. Elephant poaching is getting worse and now would have been a terrible time to legalise the sale of ivory.
"Elephants aren't out of danger yet and this is just the first step. Much more needs to be done to safeguard the elephants' future and protect them from poachers. Today we sent a strong signal to those who would sell off our planet's endangered species to the highest bidder."
Catherine led a campaign against the proposals. Over 400,000 signatures were gathered by Catherine and other organisations, showing the substantial opposition to the proposal.