Bangkok, Thailand 3-14 March 2013

A call for accountability 

Since CITES CoP15, a number of international fora, such as the INTERPOL General Assembly and the Rio +20 Summit, have acknowledged the status of wildlife crime as a serious crime. 

WWF urges all governments at CITES CoP16 to recognize the serious nature of wildlife crime, and the extent to which certain parties have failed to implement their commitments under CITES, which has allowed such damaging and often organized crime to flourish.

WWF calls on all parties to uphold their CITES
 commitments and hold other parties to account in cases of non-compliance.

CITES parties need to renew their commitment to the convention’s core scientific principles, including respect for the criteria for inclusion of species on Appendices I and II, and the need for rigorous non-detriment findings.

Rampant poaching of elephants & rhinos

Poaching of rhinos and elephants has reached crisis levels in Africa, largely due to consumer demand for ivory and rhino horn in Asia. Tens of thousands of elephants are be killed for their tusks each year and 668 rhinos were been lost in South Africa during 2012.

WWF is urging CITES to direct its attention to countries that are failing to comply with CITES rules relating to elephants. The key issue that needs addressing at CoP16 for elephants is poorly regulated domestic ivory markets and poor enforcement of laws against ivory trade in source, transit and consumer countries.

Similarly on rhinos, WWF is pressing for resolute action against countries that are failing to implement CITES rules. WWF identifies Viet Nam’s failure to act against illegal rhino horn trade within the country as the main factor driving the present poaching crisis in southern Africa, as well as resulting in the loss of the last of Viet Nam’s indigenous rhinos.

Parties should be prepared to assess countries’ compliance with rhino and elephant resolutions and to recommend a suspension of trade in CITES-listed species for countries where progress is not made.
	© Hong Kong Customs and Excise Dept.
Rhino horns seized in Hong Kong
© Hong Kong Customs and Excise Dept.

Sharks & rays vulnerable to overfishing

CoP16 will see proposals to add new species to the list of those whose trade is regulated by CITES, WWF is urging governments to support all proposals relating to sharks and manta rays.

These species take a long time to reach maturity and produce relatively few young in their lifetime so they are extremely vulnerable to overfishing.

Hammerhead, oceanic whitetip and porbeagle sharks are in high demand for the Chinese fin market. The meat of porbeagle is also highly prized. Manta rays are sought after for their gill plates, which are used in Chinese medicine.
Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) Nova Scotia, Canada 
	© /Doug Perrine / WWF
Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) Nova Scotia, Canada
© /Doug Perrine / WWF

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