IUCN - Time to put a stop to illegal wildlife trade, says IUCN

Time to put a stop to illegal wildlife trade, says IUCN

28 February 2013 | International news release

Bangkok, Thailand, 28 February 2013 – Poaching, illegal trade and other important issues facing wildlife today will be discussed at the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), taking place from 3 to 14 March 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, calls for urgent measures to halt illegal wildlife trade which is pushing many species to the brink of extinction.

Governments gathering in Bangkok will discuss measures to sustainably manage the international trade in elephants, rhinos, sharks and other species such as great apes, snakes, tortoises, turtles, crocodiles, antelopes and large cats. IUCN, together with TRAFFIC International, the wildlife trade monitoring network, will provide scientific and technical information on their status, enabling Parties to the Convention to make well-informed decisions on how to sustainably manage and regulate international trade of species.

“This year’s conference comes at a critical moment: rhino poaching is at record high, illegal trade in ivory and python skins is causing increasing concern and other species are also moving closer to extinction due to unsustainable trade,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “Countries must step up cooperation and enforce existing laws to ensure that wildlife is used sustainably, securing healthy biodiversity and livelihoods.”

In response to growing international concern about the accelerating exploitation of the world’s marine and forest ecosystems through over-fishing and logging, participants will also debate additional measures to improve the sustainability of trade in tropical timber trees and marine species such as the iconic Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulates), that is listed as Endangered on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

“The CITES convention is invaluable in bringing the global community together to address trade issues and raises awareness of species whose survival is being threatened by unsustainable trade,” says Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. “In Bangkok, we need to see concrete action that will reverse the current devastating trends before they get out of control.”

This year’s conference marks the 40th anniversary of CITES. IUCN was instrumental in creating the Convention, which today has 178 Parties and is one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation.

For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
In Thailand:
Michael Dougherty, Head, Asia Communications, IUCN; t +66 2 662 4029 (ext 142);
m +66 81 371 4687; e Michael.dougherty@iucn.org
Sameer Singh, Regional Communications Officer, IUCN Asia; m +66 818 50 3400; e Sameer.singh@iucn.org

In Switzerland:
Ewa Magiera, IUCN Media Relations, t +41 22 999 0346, m +41 79 856 76 26, e ewa.magiera@iucn.org