The recently-concluded triennial conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora revised trade rules for dozens of wildlife species, including trees, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Highlights of the decisions adopted by CITES include the following.
- added horned lizards, pygmy lizards, hump-nosed lizards, Grenadines clawed geckos, Mindoro peacock swallowtails, and riverside swallowtails to Appendix I
- added 18 more shark species, Mulanje cedars, mukula trees (a type of rosewood), all Latin American species of cedar, giraffes, tokay geckos, three species of sea cucumber, Reeve’s pheasants, lesser rufous bristlebirds, long-billed bristlebirds, the China and Vietnam populations of leopard geckos, Grandidier’s Madagascar ground geckos, spiny-tailed iguanas, spider-tailed horned vipers, spiny newts, Asian warty newts, crocodile newts, and parachute, tarantula, and ornamental spiders to Appendix II
- moved saiga antelope, pancake tortoises, Asia’s smooth-coated and small-clawed otters, black crowned cranes, Bourret’s box turtles, Vietnamese box turtles, Annam leaf turtles, and star tortoises from Appendix II to Appendix I
- moved a regional vicuña population in Argentina, the American crocodile population of Mexico, greater stick-nest rats, Shark Bay mice, false swamp rats, and central rock rats from Appendix I to Appendix II
- amended the Appendix II listing of rosewoods and related tree species to ensure that small finished items, including musical instruments, parts, and accessories, may be carried across borders without the need for CITES permits
- broadened the need for trade permits for African teak from western Africa to include plywood and other forms
- established the CITES Big Cat Task Force to improve enforcement, tackle illegal trade, and promote collaboration on conserving tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, and leopards
- agreed to examine the trade in live ornamental marine fish to assess what role CITES could or should play in regulating it
- rejected proposals for trade in southern white rhino horns from Eswatini (Swaziland) and live animals and hunting trophies from Namibia
- rejected proposals to permit some limited trade in ivory from African elephants, which means the existing trade ban remains in place
- accepted a proposal to exclude finished, retail sales products of aloe from the permitting
system otherwise covering this plant
- unanimously supported a decision to examine trade in non-CITES listed songbirds, eels, Boswellia, and rosewoods as a way of determining what role CITES could or should play in better conserving and managing these species
CITES controls and regulates international trade in certain animal and plant species that are affected by trade and are now, or potentially may become, threatened with extinction. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction in which trade is generally prohibited. Appendix II includes (a) species not necessarily threatened with extinction but in which trade is strictly controlled to prevent them from becoming so and (b) species that must be subject to regulation so that trade in other CITES-listed species may be brought under effective control. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country that has asked CITES parties for assistance in controlling trade.