Changing Planet

CITES CoP17 Concludes on the Side of Wildlife

The Wildlife Conservation Society released the following statement today by WCS VP of International Policy Susan Lieberman marking the conclusion of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17):

CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets globally. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS.

Johannesburg, South Africa 

Science and wildlife conservation prevailed at CITES CoP17.” — Susan Lieberman, WCS VP of International Policy

“Science and wildlife conservation prevailed at CITES CoP17. The decisions made by the gathering countries were based on the best available scientific information. Further, we were encouraged that governments fully embraced the precautionary principle by making decisions in the best interest of the species in the wild. After attending 11 CoPs, I strongly believe this was among the most successful CoP ever for wildlife.

Eight pangolin species were protected at CITES CoP17. Credit: Lucie Escouflaire
All eight pangolin species were moved to Appendix I at CITES CoP17. Credit: Lucie Escouflaire

“We particularly want to highlight and appreciate the science-based decisions on the following:

  • The transfer of all 8 pangolin species, 4 found in Africa and 4 found in Asia, to Appendix I;
  • The transfer of the African grey parrot, heavily sought after for the pet trade, to Appendix I;
  • The inclusion of all 9 species of devil rays, the 3 thresher shark species, and the silky shark in CITES Appendix II, resulting in international trade restrictions to ensure their exports are sustainable and legal.
  • The adoption of key resolutions and decisions dealing with closure of domestic elephant ivory markets; illegal trade in rhino horn; National Ivory Action Plans; the Decision Making Mechanism on elephant proposals; corruption; the critically endangered helmeted hornbill; illegal trade in cheetahs; sharks and rays; tortoises and freshwater turtles; and so much more.
Two African Grey parrots for sale in the infamous “Bird Markets” of Jakarta. Photo: Steve Zack/WCS.
African Grey parrots, seen here in the infamous “Bird Markets” of Jakarta, were moved to CITES Appendix I at CoP17. Photo: Steve Zack/WCS.

“The WCS recommendations throughout the CoP were all based on science.

“WCS looks forward to continuing to work closely with Party governments, the Secretariat, and our IGO and NGO partners, to help ensure that the decisions governments made at this CoP are implemented effectively.

A silky shark, one of several shark and ray species protected at CoP17, swims with fishes in Cuba's Jardines de la Reina. Credit: Christian Vizl.
A silky shark, one of several shark and ray species protected at CoP17, swims with fishes in Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina. Credit: Christian Vizl.

“WCS commits to continuing to scale up our efforts to combat the scourge of wildlife trafficking across the globe—from our on-the-ground work in the field in more than 60 countries; to working to assist governments in anti-trafficking, intelligence gathering and analysis, and enhancing enforcement; to working to reduce demand, based on sound scientific approaches; to working at the global policy level.”

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.
  • Demian Chapman

    The shark depicted in the photograph is a Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), not a silky shark (C.falciformis).

  • Susie Silook

    Other sources indicate that considerations for listings are not actually science based, and that human rights and concerns are routinely disregarded and ignored. This scenario of anti-sustainable use cannot be allowed to perpetuate any further, as not addressing poverty, habitat loss, and climate change issues does not truly serve biodiversity preservation.

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