Will the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species make a difference?

By now it is hardly news that some wildlife species, most noticeably elephant and rhino, are under severe threat from poaching. Conservationsits and citizens alike are rallying voiceferously around the globe to fight for the survival of the endangered species that are being hit hardest by the rise in poaching.

The fate of many threatened species hangs in the balance as the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species kicks off in Bangkok this Sunday. The start of the conference this Sunday coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Parties from 177 countries will be determining the international agreements on the trade in wildlife and plant species, at this sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, which runs until the 14 March 2013. The aim of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is to protect species, ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of species.

"... many threatened species will be competing for attention when officials from 177 countries open a conference on the trade in endangered species on Sunday..." (New York Times)

Setting the Tone for CITES

Earlier this week, Stuart Chapman of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) presented Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, with a petition calling for an outright ban on the trade in ivory.

The hope is that this 517 899 signature strong petition is going to influence Thai policy on ivory trading. An auspicious event particularly given Thailands role as host of this years CITES conference.

Ivory Trade Crisis

Elephant poaching has increased dramatically over the last few years, even though trading in ivory is banned internationally.

Although the sale of ivory from wild elephants is banned in Thailand, the trade in ivory from domestic elephants is currently permitted. This ivory trading policy in Thailand createds a gap for illegal African ivory to be laundered, adding to the poaching crisis according to conservationists.

Action to Help Solve the Ivory Crisis

Sign the Petition against Ivory Trade.

The aim of the petition is to convince parties at the conference to renew the international ban on ivory trading and ensure that they enforce the ban to help protect elephants against poaching, thus safeguarding the survival of the species.

Find out more about CITES.

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