CITES CoP17 results in better protection of many threatened species and higher welfare of traded animals


CITES CoP17 results in better protection of many threatened species and higher welfare of traded animals

9 November 2016
Jointly with its member organisations AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection, World Animal Protection, Four Paws, RSPCA, AD International and Fondation Brigitte Bardot, Eurogroup for Animals attended the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) in Johannesburg last week.

For decades now, Eurogroup for Animals has actively sought to influence the proceedings surrounding CITES so as to obtain higher welfare standards for traded wild animals. As in previous years, the subject discussed were vast, we took a collaborative approach through our membership of the Species Survival Network (SSN) to achieving success.

This has been the largest ever meeting of its kind, with 152 governments taking decisions on 62 species-listing proposals submitted by 64 countries. It’s also the first meeting where the European Union was participating, and voting, as a Party to the Convention alongside the 28 Member States.

Following two weeks of marathon negotiations and our collective intensive lobby efforts, we are extremely proud to announce that world governments adopted a raft of ground-breaking decisions on regulating legal, sustainable and traceable trade in several threatened species, while making also significant progress to improve the welfare of traded live wild animals.

In particular, we are thrilled with the following successes entering into force in 90 days:

  • The Barbary macaque, most frequently seized CITES-listed live mammal in the European Union, has finally been granted the highest level of international protection from trade through uplisting to CITES Appendix 1.
  • Animal welfare of traded animals has been particularly visible on the agenda of this CITES CoP, among others through SSN’s Animals in Captivity working group’s side-event “Handling confiscated live animals: challenges and recommendations for parties”. Opened by CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon, the event created a stage to put the spotlight on confiscated animals’s welfare. Participants emphasized the need for clear guidance on how competent authorities should engage with rescue centres.

Besides, the CoP also debated on live trade in elephants and white rhinos which resulted in an important step forward to ensure that the trade of live specimens is limited to support in situ conservation programmes (Resolution Conf. 11.20).

  • African Lion: the trade in bones, teeth and claws from wild lions will now be banned. Regrettably, those coming from captive-bred lions will still be legally sold, although South Africa will now have to report on how many it sells each year and to set a quota. A decision to undertake studies in legal and illegal trade in lion bones and other parts and derivatives has also been adopted. Unfortunately, however, and despite intense lobbying, the whole African lion populations have not yet been listed in Appendix I. .
  • African elephants: an important, even if non-binding agreement has been reached to close domestic markets in ivory where they contribute to poaching or illegal trade. In addition, the Decision-Making Mechanism for future trade in ivory has been definitely rejected. Attempts to achieve an Appendix I listing for all African elephants however failed.
  • Southern white rhinoceros: the trade in white rhino horn remains entirely forbidden, defeating proposals to open this trade.
  • All pangolin species, the world’s most trafficked mammals, have been uplisted to Appendix I, and various species of birds, reptiles and amphibians, all threatened by exotic pet trade, such as the African grey parrot will now enjoy increased protection and stronger enforcement measures.
  • Strict regulations will limit the trade in silky sharks, thresher sharks and devil rays currently over-exploited for the fin and gill trade, through uplisting to Appendix II.
  • Peregrine falcons will remain under high protection defeating a Canadian bid to open up trade.
  • Trade control measures have been introduced to ensure stricter monitoring and regulation of hunting trophies, also recommending conservation benefits and incentives for people to conserve wildlife.
  • Corruption and wildlife crime will be addressed as a result of an EU proposal.

Check this link for the full text of CITES proposals and working documents: