Sunday, July 17, 2011

Understanding CITES Correctly; The Basics.

Picture Courtesy: CITES.org
CITES is one of the biggest and by far the largest wildlife conservation effort at the international level. This international agreement among Governments of the member parties (of 175 countries) is the result of 1963's draft resolution of  International Union for Conservation of Nature. CITES came into being on 1st July 1973 as the Washington Convention. 

The noble cration of CITES was to establish a striking balance between the Human consumption of wildlife and wildlife  recovery in the nature. As such CITES deals only with the International trade in wildlife flora and fauna only ( not domestic) 
Since CITES is a legally binding International convention/agreement  (and not inernational Law)among the member parties, each parties are expected to adopt  a  national law in the  framework of CITES thereby regulating the import and export  (trade) of wildlife flora and fauna.

To facilitate  the international movement of wildlife species, CITES has not only framed a guideline but has also come up classification of all the flora and fauna into different catagories like Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III

What is Appendix I ?
These are wildlife species, that are already facing extinction or thteatened  with extinction either by way of internation trade or by way of lavish and unreasonable human gluttony. Trade in these species are illegal (unless otherwise specified with due exceptions accorded in the framework)
some of the examples are:
Specimen
Pictoral Example
Tiger
   
Red Panda
 
Gorilla
African Elephant
 Note: Picture courtesy wikipedia.
There are Over 800 species listed in the appendix I. Besides the ones displayed in the pictures (as above) there are others such as Cheetah, Manatees, Jaguar, Asian elephant, Rhinoceros, Lion and Chimpanzees that fall on the same Appendix. Visit www.cites.org for more.

Appendix II 
Species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but has the high likelihood of facing extinction, unless otherswise regulated are calssified under the appendix ii. International trade may be authorised by way of granting import, export, and re-export permit by the concern management and scientific authorities of the concern countries.  The exporting country however will have to make sure that the export will not affect the survival of the species in his/her native jurisdiction.
Over 33,000 speices are classified under appendix II. The captive breed of the animals and cultivated plants of the appendix I are also classified as Appendix II.  The Example of Appendix II are as follows.

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 Species
 Pictoral Example
American Black Bear

 

Great White Shark


African Gray Parrot



Green Iguana


Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra


Picture Courtesy: wikipedia


Appendix III
the species that are not necessarily threatened with global extinction. The species are listed in appendix III if the member country request the CITES body to list one of its antive species as endangered. The trade in such species will only be permited with a trade approval letter for the source contry. For instance, If Bhutan Wants to list Blue Sheep in appendix III, it can do so by requesting CITES.  Few Examples as given as below:

Species

Pictoral Example
Himalayan Blue Sheep
(For instance: if Bhutan Requests)



Two Toed Sloth
By Costarica



African Civet
By Bostava



Alligator Snapping turtle
By USA


Note : This is NOT an Expert report. The report is written in lay men's language and lay men's terminology.  The intention of writing this report is to educate my readers on the basic aspect of wildlife flora and fauna.

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