AFP: Global meet to mull trade rules to protect endangered species16 August 2019 | 05:31 | FOCUS News Agency
"We should not be repeating this again when the poaching crisis is still so severe," Matthew Collis, policy chief at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), told AFP.
Several countries in western, eastern and central Africa meanwhile want all elephant populations, including healthier southern ones, to be placed in the most-protected category, effectively barring all ivory sales.
None of the proposals are expected to be voted through however.
- Mammoth ivory -
Collis said attention should focus on legal and illegal ivory markets that are driving demand, to shut down "avenues for criminals to launder their ivory."
One of 56 proposals on the meeting's agenda aims to prevent traffickers from passing off illegal elephant ivory as coming from mammoths, by listing the long-extinct mammals as a threatened species and thus subject to regulated trade.
CITES scientific chief Tom De Meulenaer said the idea raises interesting philosophical questions about the boundaries of the treaty, but noted that the practice did not seem to be taking place on a large scale.
- Rhino horn trade? -
Southern white rhinos that have been heavily poached in recent years will also figure on the agenda, with Swaziland seeking to sell its existing rhino horn stock.
Collis termed such an idea "disastrous", and "deeply flawed" as there is currently no legal market for rhino horn.
Giraffes are on the agenda for the first time, with a number of African countries calling for a so-called Appendix II listing that would require tracking and regulation of trade in giraffe parts.
The African giraffe population is considered threatened after shrinking by an estimated 40 percent over the past three decades.
But the CITES secretariat voiced scepticism that trade was a major factor behind the decline, which has largely been linked to habitat loss.
Collis questioned this, pointing to US data indicating that in the decade prior to 2015, around 40,000 giraffe parts, mainly bones, had been traded.
Finally, three proposals for Appendix II listings of 18 heavily fished shark and ray species have been sponsored by dozens of countries, indicating strong support.
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