Whales and elephants are iconic giants of the marine and terrestrial animal world. Both are conspicuous representatives of wildlife conservation. The issues of whaling and the ivory trade are closely linked, both legally and politically, in many ways; some obvious, and some surprising. The treatment of both whales and elephants will be politically and legally contentious for years to come, and is of great significance to conservation in general.
Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics examines the current state of international environmental law and wildlife conservation through a comparative analysis of the treatment of whales and elephants. In particular, it describes the separate histories of international governance of both whales and elephants, presenting the various treaties through which conservation has been implemented. It is shown that international environmental law is influenced and shaped by important political actors – many with opposing views on how best conservation, and sustainable development, principles are to be implemented. Modern environmental treaties are changing as weaknesses and loopholes are exposed in older, and possibly outdated, treaties such as The Convention on International Trade in Endandered Species and the The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Such weaknesses can be seen in the efforts made by some states to circumvent or weaken CITES and the International Whaling Commission and to resume commercial whaling, and further in the efforts of countries to resume trade in ivory.
The argument in Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics is made to use the Convention on Biological Diversity to begin reconciling opposed views and to focus conservation efforts. Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics shows that the conservation of species cannot be done in isolation through individual treaties, but only through a synergistic approach involving multilateral environmental agreements – 'ecosystems of legal instruments'.
2. Multilateral Environmental Treaties
3. The First Old Watchdog: the ICRW
4. The Second Old Watchdog: CITES
5. CITES and Elephants
6. The IWC, CITES and Whaling
7. The Elephant, the Whale and Divergent Approaches to Conservation
8. Important Aspects of the Administration of Whaling
9. Conservation of Elephants
10. Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling
11. Sovereignty and Environmental Destruction
12. Valuing the Environment
13. Different Sensibilities
15. ICRW/IWC Membership
16. Special Animals – Links Between Species?
17. In Black and White and Shades of Grey: Recommendations
Ed Couzens is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
"Couzens' work is a lasting and most valuable contribution to the continuing debate on whale and elephant conservation regimes, which no future study of the topic can afford to overlook"
– Peter H. Sand, in International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (March 2015)