Unfortunately, some parties submitted proposals to reduce the level of protection for certain animal species. Namibia, for example, applied for authorization of the trade in live white rhinos and products thereof. Eswatini (also known as Swaziland) is also interested in selling rhino horn and has submitted a similar request for its rhino population. Australia submitted six applications to downgrade various species from Annex I to Annex II.
Remarkably, there were a number of proposals to protect exotic species that have become popular as pets, including various gecko, salamander, turtle, newt, and frog species. Exotic pets are also becoming increasingly sought-after in Switzerland. The proposals submitted clearly show that satisfying the demand for exotic pets has a major impact on the native populations of these animals and can lead to population decimation. Keeping exotic animals as pets poses a threat to species conservation and is also an animal welfare issue, as specific, in-depth knowledge is required for the species-appropriate care of exotic animals. Also, it is often particularly difficult to recognize symptoms of pain and suffering in reptiles, amphibians, and fish. In addition, capture, transport and temporary housing all cause the animals great distress, if they even survive.
TIR is also addressing the problems associated with the exotic pet trade as part of its "International Wildlife Project". It therefore welcomes the proposals by the member states to increase protection for such species and hopes, they will be adopted at the CoP18. TIR will continue to keep close track of the activities of the CITES bodies and is committed to seeing that as many animal species as possible benefit from CITES protection and that animal welfare aspects are also taken into account in the future.