Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


Posted: 23 February 2013. Updated: 7 October 2016


CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is a legally binding treaty (international law), an agreement between governments regulating the international trade of endangered and protected species. Each government involved designates one or more authorities to manage the implementation of rules and one or more Scientific Authorities to advise them on the effects of trade on the status of the species. The government representatives of the Parties to CITES meet every three years at their Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss and vote on changes to the international law on wild animal and plant trade.

One of ADI’s greatest achievements at CITES was in securing new rules for the cross border movements of endangered species with travelling animal exhibitions in 170 countries. Find out more »

Find out more about our previous CITES campaign activities:

2016 meeting

The good and bad news from CITES CoP17

The conference was a success for Barbary macaques, pangolins, and other species, who were all granted Appendix I status - the highest level of protection. However, African lions, African elephants, and many other animals, were dealt devastating blows. See full results »

ADI prepares for CITES CoP17

At this year’s meeting, ADI will be pushing for the highest levels of protection for lions, elephants, rhinos, Barbary macaques, and other endangered species. Read our briefings »

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of September, 2016

CITES Standing Committee 66 convened in preparation for CoP17 to trade and protection for endangered animals and plants. ADI submitted recommendations to US Fish and Wildlife urging increased action to tackle trophy hunting and trafficking. Read more...

2013 meeting

Illegal ivory worst offenders given two months to draw up plan of action and penalties increased for rhino horn traders

China, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Tanzania and Vietnam were to submit a time-bound plan of action for dealing with the issue required before the next meeting.

Measures to curb ivory trade and protection for manta rays, sharks & Siamese crocodile

Countries failing to tackle the illegal ivory trade have been given a year to clamp down on the trade; proposals to protect manta rays and sharks were adopted and Siamese crocodile kept their protective status. Read more...

Protection for manta rays and sharks

Proposals were adopted to protect manta rays, and some shark species were adopted. Read more...

Rosewoods protected from illegal trade


Turtles receive widespread protection at CITES

Greater protection for a total of 45 turtle species was secured. Read more...

Polar bears still under threat whilst the West African manatee is protected

A proposal to list the West African manatee as an Appendix I protected species was passed but a proposal to ban the trade in polar bears was rejected. Read more...

Proposals to improve transparency of CITES votes fail

Proposals to make the secret ballot process more open and accountable failed at the 2013 CITES meeting when national representatives voted to maintain the vote by secret ballot. Read more...


Despite their endangered status, the countries of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe allow elephants to be killed for trophy hunting and trade in elephant hides, hair and leather goods, and ivory. ADI calls for elephants to be given full protection. Read more and take action!


Lions are vulnerable to extinction due to hunting, habitat loss and the threat of persecution from livestock farmers. ADI calls for lions to be given full protection. Read more and take action!

Palm Oil

The orangutan has become the symbol of the devastation the palm oil trade can bring to a region, destroying habitats and leaving huge areas of deforestation in its wake. ADI calls for orangutans to be protected from the impacts of palm oil. Read more and take action!


The trade of bushmeat is now considered to pose the biggest threat to great apes in the wild. In the last 30 years, the nature of bushmeat hunting has radically changed, becoming heavily unsustainable and on a scale never seen before. ADI calls for measures to protect primates from this trade. Read more and take action!

Shark Finning

Shark finning is responsible for the deaths of millions of sharks each year, pushing these species to the brink. ADI calls for hammerhead sharks to be given full protection. Read more and take action!

Help stop rhino slaughter

In Vietnam, rhino horn is being openly sold as cure for cancer and hangovers with the price now exceeding that of gold. Hundreds of horns have also been imported, most illegally, from South Africa by Vietnamese trophy hunters.ADI call for protection for rhinos. Read more and take action!

2010 meeting

CITES meeting a major disappointment for marine species

The 15th CITES meeting in Doha, hailed as a major opportunity for the future protection of endangered animals, was a major disappointment for the protection of marine species. Read more...

2004 meeting

Hunters get black rhinos and leopards in their sights

There were some wins for animal protectionists at the CITES meeting in Bangkok, but more ground was lost to the increasingly powerful hunting pressure groups. Read more...

Endangered animals lose out as trophy hunters make gains

ADI feared that ground being steadily lost to hunting pressure groups. Read more...

2002 meeting

New rules for animal circuses across Europe

At the CITES meeting in Chile, new regulations for live travelling exhibitions were finally passed, introducing a ‘passport style’ system. ADI first pressed for this tightening up of the rules on circuses in 1997, after exposing a circus in Africa as an animal trafficking front. Read more...


ADI attended the CITES meeting in Chile, where the fate of endangered and threatened animals was decided. Find out more...

Elephants threatened

After a heated debate it was decided to allow the one-off sale of ivory stockpiles held by Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Similar proposals from Zimbabwe and Zambia were refused, due to lack of proper controls in those countries. Read more...

No to the ivory trade

The fate of thousands of elephants was decided. Several countries were pressing for relaxation of restrictions and resumption of the international ivory trade. ADI, as part of an international coalition known as the Species Survival Network (SSN), was there lobbying for the elephants. Read more...

1992 meeting

Ivory ban upheld

ADI calls for the ivory ban to be upheld at the CITES meeting in Japan - the ban is upheld.

A quick guide to CITES

CITES is a 1973 agreement prohibiting or restricting the international trade in species of animals and plants threatened with extinction. Currently 178 countries are signatories to CITES. Read more...

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