CITES Update

CITES Secretariat lauds INTERPOL’s Project Predator to enhance wildlife crime enforcement efforts

The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), John E. Scanlon, has praised INTERPOL and the World Bank for the launching of Project Predator, a global enforcement initiative to protect and save the world’s last surviving wild Tigers. This new partnership under the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) brings together officials from the 13 Tiger range countries, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the World Bank, the Smithsonian Institution and INTERPOL. The CITES Secretariat has played a major role with regard to enforcement-related issues in the GTI, which is supported by the World Bank. Under the strong leadership of its President Robert Zoellick, World Bank has played a catalytic role in the development of Project Predator. “We are heartened by this initiative which has our full support”, said Mr Scanlon. “The work of INTERPOL and the World Bank, and the collective efforts of the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime, is critical to the effective implementation of CITES measures for the protection of Tigers”, he added.
For more information, please click :

EU states urge stricter CITES regulations for captive bred specimens

Expressing concern that illegal trade in wild specimens declared as captive bred is occurring and is being conducted globally on a large scale, the EU and Member States have produced a document to focus attention on the detrimental aspect of this unregulated activity. Captive bred and ranched animals represent a lion’s share of overall trade in CITES listed specimens, especially reptiles and birds. The document provides an overview of the problems encountered and sets out possible solutions for the CITES Standing Committee to consider better implementation and enforcement of the provisions relating to captive bred and ranched specimens. TRAFFIC and UNEP-WCMC provided input for the preparation of the document.

Between 2000 and 2009, captive bred and ranched specimens amounted for 75% for live reptiles (approximately 1.2 1million specimens) and 33% for live birds(equating to 2 00 000 specimens in 2008 alone). Trade in captive bred specimens covers many different species from a large number of countries. The EU has been regularly faced with problems relating to trade in specimens declared as captive bred and for which there are serious doubts that they fulfill the conditions under the CITES Convention and associated Resolutions on captive breeding. While ranched specimens are not subject to the same provisions, the EU and its Member States have also been confronted with cases whereby specimens appear to have been incorrectly declared as “ranched.” The CITES Asian snake trade workshop which took place in April this year also highlighted the current high level of consumption that is expressed regarding captive breeding declarations for snakes. 
Currently, trade in captive bred specimens is not subject to a specific and systematic monitoring mechanism under CITES. In view of all this, the EU and its Member States would like the member states to carry out a comprehensive review of the difficulties encountered by the Parties in implementing the provisions related to captive breeding and ranching and to ensure that they are effectively and consistently implemented by all Parties.
The entire document can be viewed at :

CITES Secretariat launches virtual college to strengthen capacity building for saving wildlife

The CITES Secretariat has announced the launch of the CITES Virtual College, a highly collaborative initiative amongst many CITES Parties, partners and organizations, and a first for a multilateral environmental agreement. The launch of the CITES Virtual College took place recently at the International University of Andalusia (UNIA) and was attended by representatives of the CITES Secretariat.

Available in the three working languages of the Convention and composed of interactive courses, a library and a training centre, the CITES Virtual College offers Parties and the wider CITES community unparalleled access to training, educational materials and expertise. Moreover, experts on CITES-related issues will be invited to provide lectures via video and to advise students on questions related to their course work. Strong links are also being established with academic institutions, particularly the UNIA, where the CITES Virtual College will provide students enrolled in the Master's course on Management, Access and Conservation of Species in Trade: the International Framework with a useful introduction to the fundamentals of the Convention. Mr John E. Scanlon, the CITES Secretary-General, said: “The CITES Virtual College is a significant step forward in the creative use of new information and communication technologies. Innovations such as these significantly enhance the ability of the Secretariat to provide capacity-building activities and materials to CITES Parties and in a highly cost effective manner.”
More information at : 

CITES welcomes Resolution of the UN on combating wildlife crime

The CITES Secretariat has welcomed a new resolution of the United Nations to seriously tackle wildlife crime.

During a meeting in Vienna, from 11-15 April 2011, the United Nations’ Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted a Resolution on “Crime prevention and criminal justice responses against illicit trafficking in endangered species of wild fauna and flora” which was proposed by Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and the Philippines. The Resolution expresses concern about the involvement of organized criminal groups in the trafficking of endangered species, recognizes the work being conducted at international levels, for example by the recently-established International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), and urges the Member States of the United Nations to strengthen international, regional and bilateral cooperation.

The Commission has also invited States to make trafficking in endangered species a serious crime and requested the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to provide assistance in combating such crime. John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, said, “The Commission has demonstrated that the international law enforcement community and policy-makers believe, as we do, that wildlife crime is just as much a part of ‘mainstream crime’ as the trafficking of narcotics, arms and humans and warrants a similar determined and coordinated response.” Read more at

CITES bolster reporting measures on Tiger conservation; Parties asked to provide information soon

Under the CITES Notification No. 2011/014 Geneva dated 10 February 2011, Tiger range states and other countries have been instructed to provide an update on measures undertaken by the Parties on Tiger conservation, poaching, trade and other related issues to the CITES Secretariat by 29 April 2011. This is following the Resolution 12.5(Revised at CoP 15) that instructs the Secretariat to report to the Standing Committee and the Conference of the Parties on the status of Asian big cats in the wild, their conservation, and trade controls in place in Parties. This information will be reported by the Secretariat to the Standing Committee. This topic is on the agenda of the 61st meeting of the Standing Committee to be held in Geneva on 15-19 August 2011. To know more, please visit &
© Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj
Bengal Tiger
© Gobind Sagar Bhardwaj

Countries called upon to submit elephant ivory seizure data

The CITES Secretariat has called upon all parties to submit reports on all seizures of elephant ivory and ivory products to ETIS(Elephant Trade Information System). Alternatively, TRAFFIC will also accept electronic or printed spreadsheets of elephant product seizure information as long as they contain the minimum set of data required for entry into ETIS. Cases not adhering to these criteria will have to seek details from appropriate authorities and the absence of seizures also needs to be reported. ETIS(Elephant Trade Information System) is a comprehensive information system to track illegal trade in ivory and other elephant products. Its aim is to record and analyse levels and trends in illegal trade, rather than the illegal killing of elephants. The central component of ETIS is a database on seizures of elephant specimens that have occurred anywhere in the world since 1989. Since its inception, ETIS has been managed by TRAFFIC on behalf of the CITES Parties and is currently housed at the TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa office in Harare, Zimbabwe The data has to be sent to the TRAFFIC Southern Africa office in Belgravia in Harare in Zimbabwe or to the CITES Secretariat in Geneva in Switzerland. Read more at : 

Email alerts on CITES related issues now available for subscription

In a new endeavour to widely disseminate information on wildlife trade, the CITES Secretariat has created a facility on the CITES website to subscribe to email alerts concerning CITES related issues. The facility is open for use by the general public. This was communicated through a Natification to the parties dated 6 December 2010. For more information, please visit

Tiger killers will be brought to book, says CITES Secretary General

22 November 2010: CITES Secretary General John Scanlon sounded an alarm call in St Petersburg for saving wild Tigers by stating that poachers will be brought to book. Highlighting the need for better enforcement efforts throughout the world to save this iconic species, Mr Scanlon mentioned the formation of the ICCWC (International Consortium for Fighting Wildlife Crime), a consortium of enforcement agencies coming together to tackle the international trade in tiger products. The CITES Secretariat, Interpol World Customs Organisation, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank constitutes this conglomeration. The goal of ICCWC is to introduce a new era to wildlife law enforcement by drawing upon the complementary skills of the Consortium. A period where criminals who prey upon endangered animal and plant species will face a formidable opposition, one that is determined to ensure that engaging in illegal trade in wildlife is no longer low-risk and that those people who are arrested and brought before the courts will receive penalties that fit their crimes. A letter of understanding has been signed recently by representatives by all these organizations to make this partnership a reality. Whilst acknowledging that good enforcement efforts are taking place to protect Tigers, Mr Scanlon highlighted the current efforts were not enough and more concerted moves were required to stem the flow of tiger products in the World. To know more, please visit   

Indian environment ministry creates new CITES cell

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India has recently constituted a special CITES Cell within the Ministry to help strengthen the enforcement of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) regulations in the country. The new cell is meant to assist in the technical, administrative and legal functioning of CITES implementation in India. It also aims to act on various CITES decisions taken at the CITES Conferences of Parties and respond to requests from the CITES Secretariat. It is expected that this new body will better aid efforts to halt the exploitative trade in endangered species that is threatening the ecological security and integrity of the country. The new cell has ten members with two NGO representatives’ including the Head of TRAFFIC India. The Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife) is the Chairman with the Member Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Director of Project Elephant and the Additional Director of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau amongst the members. 

CITES celebrates its 35th anniversary

July 2010 marked the 35th anniversary of the CITES accord that was instituted on 1 July 1975 with ten countries joining the agreement. To mark the occasion, the CITES Secretariat convened a meeting at the Natural History Museum of Geneva. India became a party to the CITES convention on 20 July 1976 and has supported all major decisions to regulate, monitor and curb trade in endangered species found in the region. India has also been at the forefront of coordinating measures to save big cats by properly utilizing the provisions of CITES. For more information, please visit here

Tiger range states urged expediency in reporting poaching incidents

The CITES Secretariat has instructed all Parties, especially Tiger range states to submit reports on incidents of poaching and illegal trade in Tiger products that have happened within their territory since the beginning of 2007. The Secretariat shall collaborate with ICPO-INTERPOL(International Criminal Police Organization) to undertake an analysis of the information received from Parties. Two reports, one for public consumption and the other solely for the law enforcement community, should be prepared. The public document will be posted on the CITES website, whilst the other will be circulated in a restricted fashion to relevant enforcement agencies. The Secretariat shall report on this and make recommendations accordingly.The Secretariat will accept messages till 31 July 2010 which are to be submitted in Eco Message Format. These measures have been instituted taking into account the Heads-of-State Tiger Summit, which is planned to take place in Vladivostok, the Russian Federation, in mid-September 2010. For more information, please visit 

CITES Resolution calls for greater law enforcement to save tigers

An amended CITES resolution on Asian big cats has urged all Parties and non-Parties, especially range and consumer States of Asian big cat species, to adopt comprehensive legislation and enforcement controls for regulating trade in tiger and other Asian Big Cats' parts and derivatives. It also calls for increased regional cooperation among tiger range states, improved reporting, establishment of a tiger trade database and for parties to introduce innovative enforcement methods to curb such trade. The Conference of Parties, which was attended by representatives from more than 100 governments, including the majority of the tiger range countries, also called upon all governments and intergovernmental organizations, international aid agencies, and nongovernmental organizations to provide, as a matter of urgency, funds and other assistance to stop illegal trade in specimens of Asian big cat species, and to ensure the long-term survival of the Asian big cat species in the wild. 
© Samir Sinha/TRAFFIC-India
Bengal tiger
© Samir Sinha/TRAFFIC-India

Shark conservation measures dealt a blow at CITES conference

‘How inappropriate to call this Planet Earth when clearly it is Ocean’, commented science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke. And if this year’s CITES agenda on the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and shark fishing is any indication, marine life is beginning to get its due importance.

The primary market for Bluefin tuna is sushi in Japan and the demand is so great that the fish are disappearing fast. That is why the first order of business at the conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) scheduled in Doha, Qatar, was a proposal for a complete ban on the international trade in bluefin tuna. There are sharp differences that are likely to emerge between Japan and the EU and USA on the sustainability of the current trade in this species.

This debate on a fish species had drawn attention to shark fishing that has caused the decline of some shark species by as much as 90%. The one CITES listed fish species that is found off the Indian coast,the Whale Shark is listed on CITES Appendix II and is also the first fish species to be listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is being hunted primarily for its liver oil and meat.

Despite concerns, China, Japan and Russia helped defeat a U.S.-endorsed proposal at the CITES CoP 15 that would have boosted conservation efforts for sharks, expressing concern it would hurt poor nations and should be the responsibility of regional fisheries bodies. The opposition to the shark proposal came hours after the marine conservation group Oceana came out with a report showing that demand for shark fin soup in Asia is driving many species of these big fish to the brink of extinction.

The nonbinding measure, which called for increased transparency in the shark trade and more research into the threat posed to sharks by illegal fishing, had been expected to gain approval by a committee of the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.
But the United States, the European Union and other supporters were unable to muster the two-thirds majority needed after China, Russia, Japan and several developing countries argued that shark populations weren't suffering.

A TRAFFIC representative at the meeting has expressed disappointment at the outcome of the vote.
Whale Shark is listed on CITES Appendix II and is also the first fish species to be listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is being hunted primarily for its liver oil and meat.

Kenya calls for revision of resolution for rhino conservation and trade monitoring

Kenya has moved a document calling for revision and strengthening of Resolution Conf.9.14(Rev Cop 14) on conservation of and trade in African and Asian Rhinoceroses for consideration at the upcoming CoP 15 in Doha, Qatar. The key steps suggested include better consultation between range and consumer states and review of the IUCN/TRAFFIC Report on the recent escalation in trade of rhino horn. It calls for the role of the Standing Committee to be strengthened and a clear mandate given to it on non compliance with Resolution Conf 9.14. It recommends introducing an obligation for consumer states to report on measures to reduce consumption of rhino parts and derivatives and mandate IUCN/TRAFFIC to report on these measures. It mentions clarification of the mechanism whereby range and consumer states provide information to IUCN and TRAFFIC for inclusion in their reports, including timeframes for reporting. Provision of a mechanism to monitor range and consumer state reviews of the adequacy of enforcement and trade control measures in their conservation and management plans has also been stated. Kenya wants the CITES Rhino Enforcement Task Force to be provided for in the Resolution and inscribed in its mandate along with an option for stockpile destruction of rhino horn or their use for scientific or educational purposes.
EU calls for strengthening of tiger protection resolutions at forthcoming CITES meeting
The European Union has submitted a document for consideration before the CoP at Doha in March 2010 that emphasizes the need to strengthen the Resolution Conference 12.5 on conservation of and trade in Tigers and other Appendix -I Asian Big Cat Species.

It flags the following important concerns:
1) Increasing regional cooperation between range states and encourage better effectiveness of the Global Tiger Forum and the Global Tiger Initiative. Also, to improve the efficacy of regional networks like ASEAN-WEN.
2) Improve enforcement controls and procedures in accordance with the CITES Tiger Taskforce meeting held in New Delhi from 2nd to 4th April, 2001.
3) Control captive breeding in consonance with Resolution No.14.69 to ensure that tigers are not bred for their body parts
4) Improve reporting: A reporting requirement is needed to ensure that range states report adequately on measures taken to implement Resolution Conference 12.5
5) To improve compliance of CITES Resolution Conference 12.5
6) Encourage consideration of an expansion of a database such as EU-TWIX to enable a consistent reporting on the global scale of wildlife trade.

The same will be taken up for discussion during the upcoming Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties at Doha (Qatar), from 13-25 March 2010. 

CITES issues notification for submission of draft resolutions to all parties
The CITES Secretariat has issued a notification to all parties on the submission of draft resolutions and other documents for meetings of the 15th Conference of Parties to be held in 2010 in Doha, Qatar, from 13th March to 25th March. Any party may suggest an Amendment to the listing of species as outlined in Appendices I and II. The deadline for submission of documents and proposed resolutions is 14th October, 2009.

CITES initiates measures to stem trade in tiger parts, 22 July 2009
The CITES Standing Committee has issued a notification to all tiger range countries to submit reports by 20 October 2009 to determine the progress of Asian big cat conservation measures and additional initiatives needed to implement the same. The Committee has also asked for Parties to report on steps taken to restrict the captive tiger population to a level that curtails the breeding of tigers for their body parts and that which only supports wild conservation measures in accordance with the decisions adopted at the 14th CoP at Hague in 2007 via Resolution nos. 14.65 and 14.69. For more details, please visit

India nominated as member of CITES Working Group on livelihoods, 10 August 2009:
The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Standing Committee has taken a decision to look at the impact of CITES listing of species, whether positive or negative, on the livelihoods of the poor. A Working Group has been created to this effect that has India as one of the members. The notification can be viewed at
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.