Wildlife Conservation Efforts

18th CoP of CITES, Geneva

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various species mentioned

Mains level : CITES and its mandate

  • Over a hundred nations approved a proposal by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to prohibit commercial international trade in a species of otter native to the subcontinent and some other parts of Asia.
  • India’s proposal to remove Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) from Appendix II of Convention is also under consideration.

Indian proposals

  • Members at the Conference have voted to move the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I because it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction.
  • It is detrimentally affected by international trade, as well as habitat loss and degradation and persecution associated with conflict with people (and fisheries).
  • The other proposal that was passed was to include the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) in CITES Appendix II.
  • The proposal on protecting the Tokay gecko mentioned threats from hunting and collection for use in traditional medicine.
  • Apart from the smooth-coated otter, India had proposed Appendix I status for the small-clawed otter, mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), the Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) and the Tokay gecko.

About CITES

  • The CITES is as an international agreement aimed at ensuring “that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival”.
  • CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963.
  • CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975, and now has 183 parties.
  • The Convention is legally binding on the Parties in the sense that they are committed to implementing it; however, it does not take the place of national laws.
  • India is a signatory to and has also ratified CITES convention in 1976.

CITES Appendices

  • CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls.
  • All import, export, re-exports and introduction from the sea of species covered by the convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
  • It has three appendices. Appendix I include species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Appendix II provides a lower level of protection.
  • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES parties for assistance in controlling trade.
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