CITES is a treaty that regulates international trade in endangered species.
Crucial decisions that impact the fate of endangered species will be decided at CoP18 (18th Conference of the Parties), which stands to be the largest conference in the world governing the wildlife trade. At CoP17 GMFER displayed bold, vocal action. We continue to advocate for the strongest protections possible for elephants, rhinos and lions and will show up in full force at CoP18.
Wildlife in Crisis
Wildlife populations in Africa (and around the world) are in precipitous decline due to serious threats: climate change, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching and unsustainable trophy hunting. Trade in wildlife body parts (ivory, rhino horn, lion bones, etc.) places increases pressure on these already endangered species, pushing them ever closer to the brink of extinction. We need bold change to ensure their survival.
1. Ban Domestic & International Trade in Ivory
2. Ban Domestic & International Trade in Rhino Horn
3. End Canned Lion Hunting & Trade in Lion Bones
4. Ban Export of Live Elephants
5. End “Trophy” Imports
How CITES Works
Listing in Appendices
Protected species are listed in one of three appendices, depending on how threatened they are. Appendix 1 provides the greatest degree of protection.
Each country that implements CITES designates a Management Authority and Scientific Authority to carry out the treaty. In the U.S., CITES is administered through U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.
A permit system is used to track and monitor trade. Unfortunately corruption leads to forged paperwork, enabling the illegal wildlife trade to persist.
- An overwhelming majority voted NOT to extend the mandate to continue an 8-year debate on creating a process to legalize ivory trade in the future.
- CITES agreed to recommend countries should urgently close their domestic ivory markets, the first time ever that CITES agreed on closure rather than just regulation of national markets.
- A process to develop guidance on management and disposal of ivory stockpiles was also created.
- Two proposals that would have allowed ivory to be traded legally on a global scale in the future were rejected.
- Botswana, one of the four countries with elephants on Appendix II and who had formerly voted against up-listing elephants, came out in favor of an Appendix I listing.
- Swaziland proposal to open up trade in rhino horn was unequivocally rejected.
- Unfortunately, lions did not get up-listed to Appendix 1, a huge failure to afford them the strictest protections under international law they so desperately need and deserve.
Comments submitted to US Fish & Wildlife Service
In the run-up to CoP17, GMFER submitted numerous public comments to US Fish & Wildlife Services, the agency that administers CITES regulations in the U.S., lobbying for the strictest protections possible for elephants, rhinos and lions.
Comment on CoP17 provisional agenda (8/8/16)
Proposed Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items Being Considered (2/2/16)
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018-1447 – Tracking Number: 1k0-8nqs-hf7p
Taxa Being Considered for Amendments to the CITES Appendices (10/26/15)
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018-1112 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8lwo-glj0
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018-1191 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8lwq-g9om
Request for Information and Recommendations on Resolutions, Decisions, and Agenda Items for Consideration (7/10/15)
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018-0140 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8jwr-3j86
Draft Environmental Assessment; Dallas Zoo Management; Dallas, Texas (11/23/15)
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-IA-2015-0157-3362 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8mfg-u1k7
Revision of the Special Rule for the African Elephant (9/28/15)
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-IA-2013-0091-6274 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8le3-fodr
Listing the African Lion Subspecies as Threatened (1/27/15)
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025-6897 – Tracking Number: 1jz-8gui-ml2m
GMFER uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing and protests to advocate against the trade in ivory and rhino horn and amplify the voices of indigenous African communities in the conversation about conservation.