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Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Page history last edited by kellikara1@... 10 years, 10 months ago

What is CITES?

-An international agreement between governments

-Goal: To ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. 

-Protects more than 4,800 animal species and 25,000 plant species.

International Trade

-International wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars.

-Trade ranges from live animals and plants to their by-products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, and medicines.

-High exploitation and habitat loss can deplete populations.

-Ensures sustainability of trade to protect our future resources.

Levels of Protection

-Appendix I: Species most endangered or threatened with extinction. 

-Prohibited in international trade except under non-commercial purposes like scientific research. Examples include gorillas, tigers, and lions.

-Appendix II: Species not threatened with extinction but may be unless trade is closely controlled.  This also includes species similar in appearance to others listed.

-Must have an export permit to trade.  Examples include the American black bear and the green iguana.

 -Appendix III: Species’ whose trade is regulated in multiple nations.

-Not threatened globally.  Examples include the two-toed sloth and the alligator snapping turtle.

Year of Enactment

-July 1, 1975

-Representatives of the World Conservation Union met in Washington, D.C. to form a Convention listing the rules of protection for traded species.

-169 countries are currently involved with the program, including the United States.

Why Was CITES Created?

-Growing global environmental awareness

-Trade led to population declines: spotted cats (fur), rhinos (horn), elephants and walrus (ivory), parrots (pet trade), sharks (fins).

-The Convention created a permit system for the regulated trade of plant and animal species to minimize exploitation.

-Management Authority: Administers the licensing system for trade

-Scientific Authority: Provide advice about the effects of trade on the status of species.


-Does not address habitat loss, ecosystem approaches to conservation, or poverty.

-Prevents unsustainable use of trade rather than promoting sustainable use.

-Monitors on a “negative list”; thus, trade is permitted and unregulated unless species appear in the Appendices of the Convention.  The system should examine all animals for endangerment and only allow the trade of abundant species.


-Improvement in management and regulation of trade in species.

-More than 30,000 species have been listed in its Appendices from tigers and elephants to mahogany and orchids.

-Banned trade in rhino horns and increased their life spans.

-Banned ivory trade in 1989, which once led to a decline in elephant populations in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.

-Reduced poaching

-Restricted wild pet trade due to biological invasion

            -Parrots, pythons, sea horses for private aquariums.


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