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March 12, 2010

HSI Urges Nations to Protect Wildlife from International Trade

U.N. conference to begin March 13

On the eve of the 15th meeting of the Parties to the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Humane Society International urges nations to support proposals to increase or retain protection for species threatened by international commercial trade.

"Wild animals and plants are under increasing pressure due to habitat loss, pollution and disease," said Teresa M. Telecky, Ph.D., leader of the HSI delegation and wildlife director for the organization. "We urge nations to do all they can to eliminate or reduce the additional threat caused by international commercial trade."

HSI will be urging nations to:

  • Support a proposal to halt international trade in polar bear parts, such as bear skin rugs, by listing the species on CITES Appendix I. We will lose two-thirds of polar bears in the next 40 years due to their melting ice habitat. We can keep 12,000 adult, breeding polar bears in the population each decade by stopping international trade, according to HSI. 
  • Support proposals to list eight species of sharks on CITES Appendix II, which will require that nations ensure the trade in these species is not detrimental to their survival. Sharks may seem threatening to humans, but it is actually they who are threatened by humans. The main threat to these sharks is over-fishing, including through "finning," whereby the fins are removed from living sharks and the living fish are dumped back into the ocean.
  • Oppose a proposal to eliminate CITES protection for the bobcat, an iconic American wild cat that is trapped in leg-hold traps and killed so that their skins can be traded. Bobcats are the most highly traded wild cat species. Their trade must continue to be regulated by CITES in order to protect other small, spotted wild cats—such as the critically endangered Iberian lynx—whose skins are similar to bobcat, from poaching and illegal trade, according to HSI.
  • Support a proposal to list five species of Central American tree frogs—including the red-eyed tree frog—on CITES Appendix II, which will ensure that the trade is not detrimental to wild populations and that the frogs, which are traded alive for the exotic pet trade, are humanely transported. These jewels of the neotropical rainforest are threatened by habitat destruction, disease and, illegal capture and export for the pet trade.

HSI will also be urging nations to support proposals to increase protection for African elephants, spiny tailed lizards, and Kaiser's newt among others.

Facts:

  • The nations that have signed the CITES treaty ("Parties") meet every three years to discuss proposals submitted by nations to increase, decrease, remove or establish CITES protection for wild plants and animals.
  • The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES will be taking place from 13-25 March 2010 in Doha, Qatar.
  • A five-person delegation from HSI will attend the CTIES meeting and will be available for interviews with press.
  • HSI is a member of the Species Survival Network, a coalition of more than 80 organizations from around the world who work on CITES.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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