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Zimbabwe forum to push for lifting of ivory sale ban

Shingai Nyoka BBC News, Harare

An elephant summit opens on Monday in the resort town of Hwange, Zimbabwe, to look at the management of elephant populations.

Several countries are expected to push for the global ban on ivory trade to be lifted.

Zimbabwe, Botswana and several other countries are demanding the right to sell their ivory stockpiles to use for conservation of growing elephant populations.

In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) banned the sale of ivory, to feed a demand mainly in China, in order to fight poaching.

Africa is home to about 415,000 elephants, the largest population in the world.

Zimbabwe has 85,000 jumbos, double the carrying capacity, and conflicts with farmers are rising as elephants stray from parks to find food.

More than 70 people were killed by elephants last year.

Zimbabwe says their ivory stockpile worth about $600m would boost underfunded conservation efforts.

Previously, countries like Kenya have burned their stockpiles, linking the sales to increase in poaching.

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