AboutZoos, Since 2008


WWF pushes CITES toward bold action to pro­tect threat­ened species

pub­lished 13 Novem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 13 Novem­ber 2012
Elephant corpse ChadWWF is urg­ing gov­ern­ments to recog­nise the scale of threat posed by inter­na­tional wildlife crime, and to reaf­firm core sci­en­tific val­ues in the decision-​making process at the 16th Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (CoP) to CITES, the Con­ven­tion on Inter­na­tional Trade in Endan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, next March.

Numer­ous inter­na­tional bod­ies, such as INTER­POL and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, have acknowl­edged the seri­ous­ness of envi­ron­men­tal crime, includ­ing illicit wildlife traf­fick­ing. Wildlife poach­ing and traf­fick­ing exac­er­bates regional con­flicts and is fre­quently asso­ci­ated with other seri­ous crimes, such as mur­der, cor­rup­tion and money-​laundering
(Dr Car­los Drews, Direc­tor of WWF’s Global Species Pro­gramme)

“The ongo­ing ele­phant poach­ing cri­sis in Cen­tral Africa and the ris­ing death toll for rhi­nos in South Africa are indica­tive of wider leg­isla­tive and enforce­ment fail­ings.
CITES needs to face up to the scale of the cri­sis and use the teeth that gov­ern­ments have given it,” Drews said.

With this in mind, WWF is urg­ing CITES to direct its atten­tion to coun­tries that are fail­ing to com­ply with CITES rules relat­ing to ele­phants. Sim­i­larly on rhi­nos, WWF is press­ing for res­olute action against coun­tries that are fail­ing to imple­ment CITES rules. Read WWF’s posi­tion paper about the posi­tions on pri­or­ity agenda items for CITES CoP16 here.

With regard to pro­pos­als to add new species to the list of those whose trade is reg­u­lated by CITES, WWF is urg­ing gov­ern­ments to sup­port all pro­pos­als relat­ing to sharks and manta rays. “These species take a long time to reach matu­rity and pro­duce rel­a­tively few young in their life­time so they are extremely vul­ner­a­ble to over­fish­ing,” says Dr Col­man O Crio­dain, Wildlife Trade Pol­icy Ana­lyst for WWF.

Ham­mer­head, oceanic whitetip and por­bea­gle sharks are in high demand for the Chi­nese fin mar­ket. The meat of por­bea­gle is also highly prised. Manta rays are sought after for their gill plates, which are used in Chi­nese med­i­cine. “CITES failed to act to reg­u­late ham­mer­heads, whitetip and por­bea­gle at its last CoP three years ago despite near-​unanimous expert opin­ion that these mea­sures were war­ranted,” O Crio­dain said. “Our mes­sage to gov­ern­ments this time is to stick to the sci­ence and do the right thing for these species.”

WWF would also like to see CITES move to reg­u­late trade in Madagascar’s ebony and rose­wood species, which have been dec­i­mated in recent years by ille­gal log­ging. “With­out such reg­u­la­tion, the future for Madagascar’s forests looks bleak,” says O Crio­dain.

WWF is also urg­ing sup­port for pro­pos­als to tighten trade rules for Latin Amer­i­can rose­wood species, and for fresh­wa­ter tur­tles and tor­toises in North Amer­ica and Asia. It is also sup­port­ing other cross-​cutting ini­tia­tives to improve CITES imple­men­ta­tion, includ­ing a pro­posed suite of rules for treat­ment of CITES-​listed species caught on the high seas.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at WWF. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.
(Source: WWF News, 13.11.2012)

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