Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

UN Conventions’ scientists deliberate wildlife conservation and trade

24 July 2017

Categories: Homepage News, Wildlife Trade News

Born Free urges action to protect key species

The scientific advisory bodies to two key United Nations wildlife Conventions met during July 2017, to discuss issues affecting many imperilled species and advise the international community on the actions it should take.

The Scientific Council of the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) met in Bonn, Germany, followed closely by the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland. The outcomes from these meetings will help shape future actions by international governments aimed at improving species conservation and reducing the negative impacts of trade.

Born Free sent delegations to both meetings, to try to ensure the best possible outcomes for the protection of lions, leopards, African wild dogs, giraffes, chimpanzees, fennec foxes, long-tailed macaques, African grey parrots, marine mammals, sharks, and a host of others.

The CMS Scientific Council recommended that CMS should include around 30 new species of mammals, birds and fish in its appendices, in order to encourage collaborative and complimentary conservation actions between countries across which the species range. It also recommended the creation of an African Carnivores Initiative in collaboration with CITES, which should help coordinate regional efforts to secure the future of African lions, leopards, wild dogs and cheetahs; and endorsed the adoption of the African Elephant Action Plan as its guiding strategy for elephant conservation. Important proposals aimed at protecting marine species against the impacts of bycatch, marine noise and debris, and unsustainable or damaging tourism practices, were also endorsed, and action plans agreed to protect migratory birds.

At its Animals Committee, CITES scientific representatives considered cases of trade in a number of species from certain countries, and selected a number of these to investigate further, in relation to concerns about the sustainability of trade and claims about captive breeding of endangered species. The trade in fennec foxes from Sudan, and long-tailed macaques from Cambodia, is to be scrutinised over the coming months. The Committee also discussed African lions - although a study on the impact of the bone trade on lion conservation has yet to be completed, South Africa announced earlier this year that it would allow 800 skeletons from captive-bred lions to be exported during 2017. Born Free made its objections to the lion bone trade clear during the meeting.

A working group was also established to consider developing guidance on how importing countries should go about determining whether facilities for live CITES-listed animals in international trade are ‘suitably equipped’ or ‘appropriate and acceptable’ to house and care for them, and Born Free will participate in that working group and press for the strictest possible guidelines. Other important issues discussed at the meeting included quotas for leopard hunting, transport guidelines for live animals, and the continuing trade in thousands of wild African grey parrots from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While vitally important, these scientific committees are not the decision-making bodies for their respective UN Conventions; rather they advise their Standing Committees and Conferences of the Parties on technical aspects of the Conventions’ work.

Later this year, CMS will hold its 12th Conference of the Parties, and CITES its Standing Committee meeting, where the outputs from this month’s meetings will be presented and discussed for any future action. Born Free will engage in both, pushing for the adoption of much of the good advice that has emerged from the scientific committees, and fighting hard for the highest possible levels of species protection.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
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