On Thursday April 28th, United States Fish and Wildlife International Affairs, released notice of the United States submission of proposals and co-sponsorships to amend the CITES Appendices.
In five months, delegates from around the globe will meet for the world’s leading forum to debate and discuss issues related to international wildlife trade. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, will run from September 24th to October 5th in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Of note is the agreement between the United States and China to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory. Now it is time for the rest of the international community to join that effort. A similar proposal submitted by U.S. is focused on reducing demand for illegal wildlife products with a draft resolution that, if adopted, would urge countries to implement campaigns that would raise consumer awareness of the impact of illegal wildlife trade on wild populations and influence purchasing decisions.
On the heels of the USFWS announcement, news from India confirms the need more than ever to address illegal wildlife trade. According to a latest data by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), reported by the Hindustan Times, poachers killed 28 tigers in the first four months of 2016 compared to 2015’s yearly total of 25 tigers killed for body parts—the highest for the first four months in the last decade.
Poaching across India’s most protected forest areas hints at the rise in demand of the feline’s body parts and a thriving network of poachers. National Parks and tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chattisgarh and Karnataka witnessed six, five, three and two deaths of the big cats so far.
The latest killings mean that “access to tigers is as easy as before,” especially with many issues left unsorted, said PK Sen, former director of the Project Tiger. The national park of Pench spreading across Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, for instance, has left its buffer zone (zone marked as tiger habitation) unpatrolled by forest guards as it has 600 villages and many roads traversing it; making it easy for poachers to infiltrate, hunt and smuggle.