Association of Zoos and Aquariums and U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance Join Forces

In mid-February, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) announced their joining of forces in a united effort to fight the global epidemic of wildlife trafficking. San Diego Zoo Global, along with several other conservation-based accredited zoos, has pledged to support this effort through action, leadership and resources.

Beginning in 2015, the USWTA assembled an impressive coalition of corporate and nonprofit member organizations, all working together to raise awareness about the devastating impact that wildlife trafficking has on wild animals and to help stop consumer demand for endangered species products. AZA is a founding member of the USWTA.

Read more here.

69th Standing Committee Meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

This summary has been abridged from IISD Reporting Services.


The CITES SC69 meeting took place on 27 November – 1 December, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES began the meeting by highlighting a recent UN General Assembly Resolution on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife and called for increased efforts to put trade in CITES-listed timber on a legal and sustainable footing. He stressed the SC’s “supportive and non-adversarial” approach to CITES compliance matters. SC Chair Carolina Caceres (Canada) noted the packed agenda at SC69 and urged participants to summon a “spirit of collaboration” in order to complete the work required before SC70 and the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18).

The SC considered administrative, financial and compliance issues, including on introduction from the sea of specimens from the North Pacific population of the sei whale. Switzerland announced it would provide 1 million Swiss Francs to the CITES Secretariat each year, starting in 2019, pending approval by its parliament for the budget increase. Sri Lanka announced the dates for CITES CoP18 in Sri Lanka (May 22 – June 3 2019).

Discussions deliberated throughout the week included (but were not limited to):

  • Issues of Malagasy timber trade, with the agreement to maintain the recommendation for parties not to accept exports or re-exports for commercial purposes from Madagascar of specimens of Diospyros and Dalbergiaspp.
  • Elephants and ivory, specifically commending efforts made or that are underway to close domestic ivory markets, and addressing progress on National Ivory Action Plans (NIAPs), including concerns related to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) methodology. Parties including China, Hong Kong, Kenya, the Philippines, Thailand and Uganda were commended for the progress the Standing Committee considered they had made.
  • Matters of food security, livelihoods, engagement of rural communities in CITES and terminology related to local, indigenous and rural communities. Interventions from participants included pleas to consider the effects of CITES decisions on local people. This led to the agreement of a revised mandate for an intersessional working group.
  • Cooperation with other biodiversity related conventions, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), with special reference to the scientific and technical evaluation of listing proposals for commercially exploited aquatic species.
  • Combating wildlife cybercrime: at an event held alongside CITES SC69, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) announced new EU funding to step up the fight against illegal wildlife trade, totalling USD 20 million for the implementation of the ICCWC Strategic Programme 2016-2020.
  • Disposal of confiscated specimens and specimens produced from synthetic or cultured DNA.
  • Purpose codes on CITES permits and certificates, definition of the term “appropriate and acceptable destinations,” electronic systems and information technologies and traceability
  • Various species-specific issues were raised including: Humphead wrasse, illegal trade in Tibetan antelope, rhinoceroses and interpretation of annotation #15, cheetahs, sturgeons and paddlefish, sharks and rays, African lion and illegal trade in eels, rosewood timber species, tortoises and freshwater turtles.
  • With regards to pangolins, deliberations primarily focused on interpretation of CITES Res. Conf. 13.6 and in particular, whether specimens of pangolins acquired before the species were listed in Appendix I in 2016 should be treated as specimens of species in Appendix I or II. The Standing Committee agreed that guidance on interpretation of this Resolution in this context should be provided by the CoP, and advised Parties that in the interim they should treat all specimens of pangolins as specimens of species in Appendix I. This issue will now be discussed at CoP18.

Requesting input for Tools & Guidance

As part of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, we aim to translate our research into impact, by creating a set of Tools & Guidance, in collaboration with and for ongoing use by, stakeholders working within the illegal wildlife trade.

Our Tools & Guidance will be grounded within the specifics of our research, yet we wish to have full involvement of stakeholders throughout the process so what we produce is useful for the wider global community working to address wildlife trade. Thus, we are requesting your input to help us ascertain interest, need and help guide our direction.

Thank you in advance for your time in completing our survey

London 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference: Oct 10-11, 2018

UK Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development have announced the London 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference will be held October 10-11, 2018. This will be the fourth consecutive conference on IWT, after London in 2014 through to Kasane in 2015 and Hanoi in 2016, with aims to bring together international leadership and secure political commitment to bring an end to IWT.

The conference was launched by ministers together with NGOs, academics and key countries affected by IWT, after the government announced new plans to ban ivory sales in the UK. Prior to doing so, Defra is seeking public views and evidence on what the effect of this measure will have. Consultations close December 29, 2017, so submit your perspectives and additional documentation to substantiate soon, if you haven’t done so already.

“Only by building global consensus and working together will we be able to stop wildlife crime in its tracks, and I am determined that the UK will continue to drive forward this agenda.” – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

“The international community shares a common aim to end merciless poaching and criminal trading – but now is the time to step up decisive action.” – Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey

Report on Wildlife trade in Amazon countries: an analysis of trade in CITES-listed species released

This report presents the first comprehensive overview of international trade in CITES-listed wildlife in the Amazon countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. The analysis provides a baseline of information on trade levels and trends in these countries for the ten-year period 2005-2014, in order to inform trade management in the region. Produced in close collaboration with national experts, the report also presents contextual information and insights into the management of wildlife trade in the region. Authors of this report include: Pablo Sinovas, Becky Price, Emily King, Amy Hinsley, Alyson Pavitt

The report can be downloaded here.

Biodiversity and Security: BIOSEC project

In September 2016, the University of Sheffield launched the project, Biodiversity and Security: Understanding environmental crime, illegal wildlife trade and threat finance (BIOSEC). Running until August 2020, BIOSEC is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and is led by Professor Rosaleen Duffy in the Department of Politics. The project examines the growing links between biodiversity conservation, militarisation and global security concerns, including the caviar trade within the EU, use of green surveillance technologies in conservation and the impact of illegal wildlife trade in both source and end user countries.

To find out more about the BIOSEC team, their current research and upcoming events, you can visit their website, follow BIOSEC on Twitter and read a copy of their latest newsletter.

1st International Symposium on Sun Bear Conservation and Management to be held 4– 6 September 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Free the Bears, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and the IUCN Bear Specialist Group are pleased to announce that the first international symposium dedicated to the conservation and management of the world’s smallest ursid – the Sun bear – will be held from the 4th to 6th September 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The symposium will bring together field researchers, conservation managers, environmental educators and conservation breeding specialists, as well as government and industry representatives to share experiences and create a coordinated plan for the conservation of one of Southeast Asia’s least known large mammals.

The symposium will be designed to encourage presentations and discussions that will contribute towards a range-wide conservation strategy for Sun bears which will be developed during a conservation planning workshop to be held on the 7th and 8th September, immediately after the symposium.

Find out more here or contact for further details.

New IUCN SSC sub-group on the global orchid trade established

The majority of species traded are plants and orchids are one of the main taxonomic groups. This includes the international horticultural industry, ingredients in traditional medicines, high-end cosmetics, and edible products. Every orchid species is listed in the CITES, accounting for >70% of all species listed by the Convention.

Recognising the importance of this trade and the conservation implications of unsustainable exploitation, in October 2016, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Orchid Specialist Group established a new sub-group focused on the global orchid trade. The sub-group aims to generate and coordinate expert inputs on the trade of orchids and their derivatives, to inform domestic regional and international conservation and sustainable use efforts. This includes engaging with policy makers, practitioners and the public to provide information and expertise and raise the profile of orchid trade.

Call for Conservation Evidence on interventions on Wildlife Trade of Endangered Species

The University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the Oxford Martin Programme on Illegal Wildlife Trade, are planning to undertake a Conservation Evidence project to identify and gather evidence of interventions that have been or could potentially be implemented to tackle all stages of the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade.

An initial list of interventions has been drafted, but we are looking for feedback and especially welcome the addition to the list of any interventions to reduce trade in protected species that we have missed. Please view the list here or contact Nancy Ockendon for further information or any contributions you would like to make.