CITES publishes proposals for CoP18
On January 4, 2019, the CITES Secretariat published 57 proposals to amend the list of species subject to CITES regulations submitted by the CITES member states. The Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) keeps track of the activities of the CITES bodies and promotes the best possible protection for all animals.
January 18, 2019
The 57 applications submitted by the member states with proposals to amend the conservation status of animal and plant species have been published on the CITES website. The contracting parties now have time until mid March to submit their comments on the proposals. At the Conference of the Parties (CoP18), which will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from May 23 to June 3 this year, the parties will decide whether to accept or reject the applications. The conference of the parties is held every three years and is the main decision-making body of CITES.
Many of the proposals sought to strengthen protection for certain species: Several countries have requested that various Appendix II species be reclassified to Appendix I. Others called for an inclusion of species not yet protected by CITES, like giraffes. Israel even went so far as to propose the inclusion of an extinct animal, the mammoth, which would be an absolute novelty in the history of CITES. Trade in mammoth ivory has not yet been restricted, so that there have been repeated attempts to smuggle illegal elephant ivory as mammoth ivory into the legal market. The idea is to curb the illicit ivory trade by including the mammoth in CITES Appendix 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.