Species set to ben­e­fit from lat­est CITES sum­mit

New pro­tec­tion will guard against trade in an­i­mal parts and ex­otic pets.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - WILD NEWS -

Con­ser­va­tion­ists are cel­e­brat­ing a ma­jor vic­tory for ele­phants fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion at an in­ter­na­tional wildlife sum­mit to im­pose a near-to­tal ban on send­ing young African ele­phants cap­tured from the wild to zoos.

Botswana and Zim­babwe have been un­der fire for be­ing the main providers for young, wild African ele­phants to zoos in China and around the world.

“This mea­sure should help to bring an end to the trade in young ele­phants that are ripped from their fam­i­lies and shipped to zoos, where they are con­demned to live short­ened and of­ten lonely and bar­ren lives,” says Dr Mark Jones from the wildlife char­ity Born Free.

The de­ci­sion to vir­tu­ally out­law the trade in ele­phants was taken at the meet­ing of the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species (CITES), an in­ter­na­tional treaty formed in 1973 to reg­u­late the global trade of threat­ened wildlife.

With mem­bers from 183 coun­tries and rules cov­er­ing over 35,000 species of wild plants and an­i­mals, the CITES sum­mit takes place ev­ery three years.

Whilst there was some wel­come news for African ele­phants dur­ing the sum­mit this sum­mer, it was a mixed pic­ture for

Africa’s rhi­nos. A pro­posal to re­open up the trade in south­ern white rhino horns from Eswa­tini ( for­merly Swazi­land) and Namibia was re­jected. How­ever, South Africa got the goahead to al­most dou­ble the num­ber of black rhi­nos that can be shot by tro­phy hunters. The con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion means that nine rhi­nos a year can now be killed, and the money raised will be used to sup­port the con­ser­va­tion of the Crit­i­cally En­dan­gered species.

Mean­while, the sum­mit re­sponded pos­i­tively to the cri­sis now fac­ing gi­raffes – whose pop­u­la­tion has plunged by about 40 per cent since 1985 – by grant­ing them new pro­tec­tion.

Sim­i­larly, the plight of the saiga was ac­knowl­edged by the ban­ning of all in­ter­na­tional trade in saiga horn. The an­te­lope once ranged in their mil­lions across Eura­sia but its pop­u­la­tion has now crashed to crit­i­cal lev­els.

The In­dian star tor­toise, tokay gecko, Asian small-clawed ot­ter and smooth­coated ot­ter were among other species to ben­e­fit from pro­tec­tion. Si­mon Birch

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Bans in place for African ele­phants ( pic­tured) and saigas ( be­low).

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