Triennial CITES meeting updates

Geneva, Switzerland is currently hosting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which occurs every three years to determine what resolutions to expand, adapt, and strengthen from myriad government submissions. CITES is based on a 1975 treaty that works to encourage international trade while protecting species from extinction.  The discussions set to take place encompass everything from the ivory trade, rhino horn trade and even timber concerns about rosewood used for musical instruments.

Over 34% of the new proposals are in direct response to amphibians and reptiles that have become endangered or threatened because of the exotic pet trade. Some species have seen up to an 80% loss of population due to smuggling. While the proposal to list the Union Island gecko on Appendix I was passed unanimously, other amendments weren’t so well received.

A proposal to list the extinct woolly mammoth on Appendix II was withdrawn before a vote when it became clear that it wouldn’t pass. The idea to list woolly mammoths comes from an attempt to further protect elephants from the ivory trade. Mammoth ivory is virtually indistinguishable from elephant ivory and as climate change begins melting the permafrost, more ivory mammoth tusks are being exported.

The Asian small-clawed otter was listed on Appendix I, which bans all international trade of the adorable critters that are facing decreasing numbers thanks to their popularity on social media and the loss of their wetland habitats in Southeast Asia.

Not all resolutions had a clear yes or no. The saiga antelope was denied a move up to Appendix I banning all trade, but was given an annotation that placed the quota of wild caught saiga at zero which leaves open trading of captive raised saiga.  Other animals given protections include giraffes, which were added to Appendix II that restricts their export to only legally hunted giraffes that aren’t compromising the species’ survival. The black rhino had its quota raised from five to “a number not exceeding half a percent of the country’s total black rhino population.”

We at Edward J. Zarach & Associates understand how important these changes are to many of our readers. As we move forward, we encourage everyone to reach out to our trophy hunting division to discuss your planned hunts or imports and know what pitfalls to avoid with your specific trophy.