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African Countries Reportedly Slam EU for Failing to Preserve Hippos From Poaching

© AP PhotoA pair of hippopotamuses cool off in the Nile river near the waterfalls in Murchison Falls National Park, northwest Uganda, on Feb. 21, 2020.
A pair of hippopotamuses cool off in the Nile river near the waterfalls in Murchison Falls National Park, northwest Uganda, on Feb. 21, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.11.2022
Hippo teeth, which are prized by hunters for their ivory, were among the most often seized mammal parts in 2020. The semi-aquatic mammals have had an overall population reduction of between 30% and 50% during the past ten years, despite having an estimated global population of 115,00-130,000.
Ten African nations claimed that the EU is endangering the common hippopotamus' future by refusing to accept a planned ban on the commercial trading of hippo products, the UK media reported, citing a letter to the European Commission.
The letter, signed by 10 states, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, expressed "grave concerns about the future of this species."

“By openly opposing our proposal, the EU is jeopardizing the chances of the west and central Africa region, which are range states of more than half of the hippo populations, to adequately ensure the survival of the species,” the letter is quoted as saying. “Hippos have been silently dying for 30 years. We must act quickly before they become extinct.”

This comes as the EU intends not to back a proposal to outlaw the international trade in hippo products at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference in Panama, scheduled to start on November 14.
The bloc's position is that the number of hippopotamus populations does not meet the criteria for designating them in Appendix I to CITES. According to the documents, the most endangered animals and plant species among those on the CITES list are classified in Appendix I. Since they face extinction, CITES forbids the international commerce in their specimens, with the exception of situations where importation is necessary for noncommercial purposes, such as scientific research.
The difference is that species included in Appendix II could become extinct if trade is not tightly controlled but are not necessarily threatened with extinction right now. Additionally, it contains what are known as "look-alike species," or species whose specimens sold in trade resemble those of species listed for conservation.
Hippo populations once lived in five other African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Liberia, and Mauritania) but are thought to have been exterminated through illegal hunting for meat and ivory.
In 2020, the European Commission assessed that hippo teeth were among the most often seized mammal parts. Meanwhile, the CITES trade database shows that between 2009 and 2018, goods from little less than 14,000 hippos were shipped or traded internationally as hunting trophies.
On the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List in 2016, hippos were categorized as being at risk of going extinct in the wild because population trends in around two-thirds of its range states were either dropping or unknown.
After elephants and rhinos, hippos are the largest land mammals, but they are also threatened by illegal hunting, habitat destruction, the climate crisis, and conflicts with growing human settlements.
The present Appendix I guidelines might assist creatures that could quickly recover from population losses but not those that could be wiped out since slow-reproducing species like hippos only bear children every once in a while, while crocodiles can lay 60 eggs in a clutch, the letter noted.
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