DEA im­ple­ments CITES CoP17 de­ci­sions

The Star Early Edition - - JUNE IS ENVIRONMENT MONTH -

LATE last year, South Africa hosted 17th Con­fer­ence of Par­ties to the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, where CITES Par­ties and ob­servers en­gaged in ro­bust dis­cus­sions and came up with res­o­lu­tions to take for­ward the work un­der­way around the trade in flora and fauna.

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs is al­ready im­ple­ment­ing de­ci­sions taken at the con­fer­ence. These in­clude:

Pro­vi­sions to strengthen ac­tions to com­bat il­licit wildlife traf­fick­ing, im­prove pro­tec­tion of en­tire groups of species, em­pow­er­ing youth and closer en­gage­ment with ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties;

Pro­vi­sions to man­age the in­ter­na­tional trade in hunt­ing tro­phies and the trade in cy­cads;

The CITES list­ing of wild gin­ger and Tem­minck’s pan­golin;

The trans­fer of the Cape Moun­tain Ze­bra from Ap­pendix I to Ap­pendix II by CITES, which recog­nises a re­mark­able con­ser­va­tion suc­cess story – where a species has re­cov­ered from just less than 100 in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals in the 1990s to over 5 000 in 2016; and

The de­ci­sion not to list South Africa’s ele­phant pop­u­la­tion in Ap­pendix I, which would have in­tro­duced a ban on the in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial trade in wild ele­phant.

This is a vic­tory for sci­en­tific, ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sion-making.

The Par­ties and ob­servers dis­cussed the doc­u­ment on the rhi­noc­eros, which re­ported on a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties that have been un­der­taken by Par­ties, the Sec­re­tar­iat and the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee’s Work­ing Group on Rhinoceroses in the pe­riod from CoP16 to CoP17, in sup­port of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the De­ci­sions adopted by CoP16 and the rec­om­men­da­tions adopted by the CITES Stand­ing Com­mit­tee its meet­ings in 2014 and in 2016.

All Par­ties will re­view their im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Res­o­lu­tion on the Con­ser­va­tion of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses, and the strate­gies and pro­posed ac­tions de­vel­oped by the CITES Rhi­noc­eros En­force­ment Task Force.

The aim of the re­view is to en­hance im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Res­o­lu­tion and the strate­gies and pro­posed ac­tions, and to in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of the law-en­force­ment re­sponses to rhi­noc­eros poach­ing and rhi­noc­eros horn traf­fick­ing.

All rhi­noc­eros range states should con­tin­u­ously re­view poach­ing and traf­fick­ing trends, to en­sure that the mea­sures they im­ple­ment to pre­vent and com­bat rhi­noc­eros poach­ing and rhi­noc­eros horn traf­fick­ing re­main ef­fec­tive and are quickly adapted to re­spond to any newly iden­ti­fied trends.

The African lion sym­bol­ises strength, courage and lead­er­ship for many peo­ple and is of­ten re­ferred to as the King of the Beasts. It is there­fore not sur­pris­ing that any dis­cus­sions re­lat­ing to the African lion will so­licit much pas­sion­ate dis­cus­sion and the dis­cus­sions at the 17th CoP to CITES re­lat­ing to the pro­posed trans­fer of all African lion pop­u­la­tion from Ap­pendix II to Ap­pendix I were no ex­cep­tion.

At the 17th CoP to CITES, the pro­posed list­ing of lion in Ap­pendix I was dis­cussed in de­tail and al­though the African lion range states agreed on a num­ber of de­ci­sions that in­cluded con­ser­va­tion ac­tions; stud­ies on le­gal and il­le­gal trade in lions, in­clud­ing bone trade; and a com­par­a­tive study of lion pop­u­la­tion trends and con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment prac­tices such as hunt­ing; the range states could not reach agree­ment on the pro­posed trans­fer to Ap­pendix I.

Af­ter pro­tracted dis­cus­sions, an an­no­ta­tion to the Ap­pendix II list­ing was pro­posed. This meant that the African lion would re­main in Ap­pendix II, but with cer­tain ‘con­di­tions’ at­tached to the list­ing, which ex­cluded cer­tain spec­i­mens from the Ap­pendix II list­ing.

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