Species Proposals Outcomes at CoP17

Click on the images below to read news releases and updates about if the following species proposals were adopted at the 17th Conference of Parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 



Strongest CITES Protections Signal Hopeful Future for African Grey Parrots

October 3, 2016

Contact(s):

Johannesburg, South Africa:  
Danielle Kessler (Danielle_Kessler@fws.gov; +1 571-228-1803) 

USA: 
Laury Parramore (Laury_Parramore@fws.gov; 703-358-2541)

Weblink

(Johannesburg, South Africa) - African grey parrots are being loved to death. Their intelligence and longevity make them popular as pets, and overharvest for the pet trade is devastating populations in the wild. Fortunately, nations gathered at the world’s largest and most important wildlife trade conference today handed these birds a lifeline by granting them increased protections under a global treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations, referred to as “Parties,” voted to increase protections for grey parrots in a proposal co-sponsored by the United States.

“Increased CITES protections come not a minute too soon for African grey parrots,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa. “During the past 25 years, more than 1.5 million wild African greys have been taken from their native habitats, making them one of the most traded of all CITES-listed parrots.”

The Johannesburg vote moves the parrots from Appendix II of the convention to Appendix I, the most restrictive of the CITES designations, which prohibits international commercial trade.  Leading up to and during this meeting, the United States worked closely with a coalition of countries committed to gaining support for the Appendix I-listing proposal. The proposal, submitted by Angola, Chad, the European Union, Gabon, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and the United States, was adopted in a vote with 95 countries in support, 35 opposed, and five abstentions.

Thriving wild populations of the African grey parrot were once widespread throughout west and central Africa. However, CITES Appendix II protections were insufficient to control the pet trade demand, which, combined with deforestation for timber, fuelwood and agricultural expansion, has caused the species to be eliminated from much of its west African range. Today, the largest populations are now found only in central Africa.

Today’s vote still needs to be finalized at a session later in the week, but Ashe is confident the strength of the science supporting the Appendix I listing will ensure the protections will be upheld.

CoP17 is taking place Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, 2016. CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and since agreed to by 182 countries and the European Union to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. More than 35,000 species of animals and plants benefit from CITES protection. Every two to three years, a session of the CoP is held to review, discuss and decide on changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species.

Species protected by CITES fall under one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other parties to control trade.

VIDEO: Produced by Cornell Lab of Ornithology available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfXxh0Eff_w 

PHOTOS are available for select CITES CoP17 species at https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/albums/72157673776718036  Please credit photos as noted in associated captions. 

To learn more about the Service’s involvement in CITES CoP17, visit: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17/index.html 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.


 

Global Protections Achieved for Imperiled Reptiles

October 3, 2016

Contact(s):

Johannesburg, South Africa:  
Danielle Kessler (Danielle_Kessler@fws.gov; +1 571-228-1803) 

USA: 
Laury Parramore (Laury_Parramore@fws.gov; 703-358-2541)

Weblink

(Johannesburg, South Africa) - Tortoises and freshwater turtles are the most threatened of any major group of terrestrial vertebrates – more so than mammals, birds or amphibians. They are increasingly at risk from poaching and commerce, which makes today’s decision to restrict global trade in six African and Middle Eastern softshell turtle species particularly significant. Signatory nations to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), referred to as “parties,” are meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they adopted by consensus a proposal, co-sponsored by the United States, to list these six species on Appendix II of the treaty. 

“While freshwater turtles may not be the most iconic or charismatic species discussed at this CoP, they are certainly among the most heavily traded and deserving of CITES protections,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg. “Today’s actions bring the majority of the world’s softshell turtles under the umbrella of CITES, and we’re proud to work with a coalition of countries committed to reversing the trend of over-exploitation that has depleted wild turtle populations.”

The United States co-sponsored a proposal to list the six softshell turtle species in Appendix II, which was submitted by Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria and Togo. The Appendix II listings were adopted by consensus. In 2013, the United States collaborated with international partners to adopt CITES protections for Asian freshwater turtles and in 2016 protected four of its native freshwater turtles under CITES Appendix III, bringing all North American softshell turtles under CITES protection.

Freshwater turtles and tortoises are collected, traded and utilized in overwhelming numbers principally to fill demand from Asia where they are prized for food and in traditional medicine. A growing pet trade also impacts a number of these threatened species. The global commerce in turtles in the last 20-plus years has followed a well-known pattern in international wildlife trade: once a species is depleted or regulated, the trade shifts to other species that are not as threatened or are less regulated. With continued human-driven development and population growth, turtle populations around the world also face pressure from habitat degradation and loss.

Yesterday, the parties also recommended the Appendix II listing of 21 species of African pygmy chameleons, small insect-eating lizards native to the wet forests of central and eastern Africa that are popular pets in Europe and the United States. The United States co-sponsored the proposal, submitted by Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Kenya and Nigeria. The listings, which were adopted by consensus of the parties, will require traders to obtain a permit before shipping them overseas, helping member countries better control trade to ensure it is legal.

The decisions could be reconsidered later this week, when the parties hold a decision-making session to finalize recommendations. According to Ashe, “These Appendix II listings will close a gap in global protections for softshell turtles and ensure that trade in African pygmy chameleons is legal and sustainable. Science supports these listings, and we are confident the CITES parties will uphold these decisions.”

CoP17 is taking place from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, 2016. CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and since ratified by 182 countries and the European Union to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. More than 35,000 species of animals and plants benefit from CITES protection. Every two to three years, a session of the CoP is held to review, discuss and decide on changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. 

Species protected by CITES fall under one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other parties to control trade.

To learn more about the Service’s involvement in CITES, visit: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.


 

Marine Species Take Center Stage at Global Wildlife Trade Meeting

October 3, 2016

Contact(s):

Johannesburg, South Africa:  
Danielle Kessler (Danielle_Kessler@fws.gov; +1 571-228-1803) 

USA: 
Laury Parramore (Laury_Parramore@fws.gov; 703-358-2541)

Weblink

(Johannesburg, South Africa) - Conservation actions for chambered nautiluses, devil rays and sharks were agreed today among member nations or “parties” to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. These species, all of which are slow-growing and produce few young, are at risk of over-exploitation due to commercial trade for their shells, fins, gill rakers, or meat. 

“The United States is dedicated to conservation of the marine environment across the globe and as a range country for many of these species, deeply appreciates the partnerships formed in development and adoption of these proposals,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17). “We applaud the leadership of Fiji, India, Palau, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and respect their strong actions to promote marine conservation.”  

The United States trades in several of these species and is perhaps the largest consumer of products made from chambered nautilus - deep sea mollusks prized by collectors for their beautifully intricate shells, which are sold as souvenirs to tourists and shell collectors and as jewelry and home decoration items. 

“Nearly 1 million nautiluses have been imported into the United States in the last decade. We have a significant role in this trade and a responsibility to ensure it does not drive these beautiful creatures to extinction,” said Ashe. “Existing protections for nautiluses are poorly enforced and implemented, which has led to overharvest and population declines. CITES protections will strengthen range States’ ability to address illegal trade in these species.”

Similar to manta rays, which are currently included in CITES, devil rays are vulnerable species that are increasingly found in international trade due to the growing demand for their gill rakers (the appendages that are used for breathing) in Asian markets. Relatively few countries have enacted regulations to protect devil rays, and there is a lack of regional and international measures to ensure that harvest is sustainable.

“NOAA applauds CITES parties and the global community for taking steps at CoP17 towards ensuring that the international trade in key marine species is legal and sustainable,” said Eileen Sobeck, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries. “We are particularly pleased to see that the trade in chambered nautiluses and devil rays – species that are extremely vulnerable, largely unregulated, and at risk of population decline due to international demand – will now be regulated.”

The United States has been a strong supporter of shark conservation and supports the requests by the Maldives and Sri Lanka to include the silky and thresher shark in Appendix II. These listings will go into effect in one year to give countries the necessary time to ensure effective implementation. 

The United States is a global leader in marine conservation. The decisions taken today further the Obama Administration’s legacy of taking bold actions to protect our ocean and marine ecosystems, including creating the world’s largest marine protected area, establishing the first-ever National Ocean Policy, and combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Although today’s votes await finalization later this week, Ashe expressed confidence that the listings will be upheld.

CoP17 is taking place from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, 2016. CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and since ratified by 182 countries and the European Union to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. More than 35,000 species of animals and plants benefit from CITES protection. Every two to three years, parties meet to review, discuss and decide on changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. 

Species protected by CITES fall under one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other parties to control trade.

To learn more about the Service’s involvement in CITES CoP17, visit: http://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.




CITES Unites to Change the Fate of Pangolins

September 28, 2016

Contact(s):

Johannesburg, South Africa:  
Danielle Kessler (Danielle_Kessler@fws.gov; +1 571-228-1803) 

USA: 
Laury Parramore (Laury_Parramore@fws.gov; 703-358-2541)

Weblink

(Johannesburg, South Africa) - Pangolins—also known as scaly anteaters--have received increased protections today under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations, referred to as “Parties,” voted to increase protections for pangolins by voting in favor of proposals to transfer pangolins from Appendix II to Appendix I of the treaty. There are eight species of pangolins—four are found in Asia, including one that is endemic to the Philippines, while four others occur in Africa. Leading up to and during this meeting, the United States worked closely with a coalition of countries and non-government organizations committed to gaining support for the Appendix I-listing proposals. 

The United States co-sponsored proposals that were submitted by India, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam, Bhutan, Angola, Botswana, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Togo. The Appendix I listings were adopted with the following votes:  for the Chinese and Sunda pangolin proposal, 114 support, 1 against, and 5 abstentions. The proposals for the Indian, Philippine and African pangolins were agreed upon without the need for a vote and without opposition.

“The United States has been determined to do everything we can to support range states in their fight to protect pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, by seeking Appendix I CITES status, the highest international protection possible,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Director Dan Ashe, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 17th Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg. “Swift and strategic international cooperation is essential to preventing the extinction of the eight species of pangolins. A CITES Appendix I listing will prohibit international commercial trade and empower range states to increase domestic protections to fight the tremendous threats facing the species. We are thrilled with this outcome.”

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are nocturnal, ant- and termite-eating mammals whose bodies are covered with overlapping scales made of keratin, the same protein that forms human hair and finger nails, and rhino horn. Both Asian and African pangolin species are threatened by international trafficking, primarily for use of their scales for traditional Asian medicine and as a luxury food in East Asia. In Africa, hunting of pangolins for local use as bushmeat and for traditional medicine is also occurring at unsustainable rates. 

Between 2013 and 2016, approximately 18,500kg of pangolin scales were seized from illegal shipments originating from African countries, representing between 5,100 – 39,000 individual pangolins depending on the actual species harvested (the largest pangolins have heavier scales, but more of the smaller pangolins are hunted).  

In preparation for the CITES Conference, the United States engaged with a coalition of member nations to foster collaboration between ranges states and garner support for the pangolin proposals, including co-hosting the First Pangolin Range States Meeting with Vietnam in 2015. “We reached out to our CITES counterparts in many other nations to show that the science supported an Appendix-I listing, and we have supported pangolin range states in their international collaborations to develop conservation plans, including policy actions under CITES. With widespread agreement among range states that an Appendix-I listing is warranted, we applaud the leadership of the many countries that helped us get there,” said Ashe. 

Today’s decisions could be reconsidered later this week, when the Parties hold a decision-making session to finalize recommendations made throughout the week. “Populations of these species are facing terrible pressures. Given the risks to the species from unsustainable harvest and international trafficking,” said Ashe. “We are confident that the CITES Parties will uphold these recommendations.” 

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5, 2016. CITES is an international agreement initiated in 1973 and since ratified by 182 countries and the European Union to protect certain wild animals and plants against over-exploitation as a result of international trade. More than 35,000 species of animals and plants benefit from CITES protection. Every two to three years, a session of the CoP is held to review, discuss and decide on changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. 

Species protected by CITES are included in one of three appendices. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade. Appendix II includes species that, although currently not threatened with extinction, may become so without trade controls. Changes to Appendices I and II must be proposed at a CoP and agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the Parties present and voting. In contrast, listings to Appendix III can be requested by individual Parties at any time. Appendix III includes species protected by at least one country that needs assistance from other Parties to control trade.

To learn more about the Service’s involvement in CITES CoP17, visit: https://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17/index.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.

On September 27, 2016, during the Seventh Session of Committee I, the United States introduced its proposal (Proposal CoP17 Prop. 52) to transfer Sclerocactus spinosior ssp. Blainei (= Sclerocactus blainei), Sclerocactus cloverae (CITES-listed synonym of Sclerocactus parviflorus), and Sclerocactus sileri from Appendix II to Appendix I. 

Brazil, Canada, on behalf of the Plants Committee, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Senegal, and South Africa supported the proposal. In response to a concern raised by one Party regarding the taxonomy of this genus, the nomenclature specialist of the Plants Committee reported that any nomenclature concerns would be addressed with the publication of the forthcoming revised CITES Cactaceae Checklist. The proposal was adopted by consensus without further discussion.