Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI takes a stand for wild animals at CITES CoP17

Posted: 7 October 2016. Updated: 7 October 2016


UPDATE: The CITES CoP17 meeting has now finished. Click here for the results »

Every two years, the 183 countries who are signatories to the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) treaty, meet to decide which species need further protection, and which species will endure further killing and trade.

This year’s CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP17) is underway, and ADI’s President Jan Creamer, Vice-President Tim Phillips, and General Counsel Christina Scaringe, are in Johannesburg to provide expert evidence and advice on the proposals put forward.

See below to find out how you can get involved.

Proposals ADI is supporting:

  • Transfer all lion populations from Appendix II to Appendix I status.

    Lions are endangered all over the world due to indiscriminate killing, trophy hunting, serious reduction in numbers of prey animals available to lions, habitat loss and international trade in lion products (e.g. bones). Between 2005 and 2014, 29,214 items were traded, 11,164 of which were from wild sources. Trade is increasing thus the highest level of protection (Appendix I) must be afforded to lions to restrict trade and killing, and enforcement efforts must be facilitated to bring international spotlight onto the plight of this endangered species. View the full briefing »

  • Include Barbary macaques in Appendix I.

    Barbary macaques are an endangered species. More than 50% of their total population has been lost over the past 24 years, and decline is ongoing. Habitat loss is a major threat, as is capture for the international pet trade and use as tourist photo props; at this rate, the Middle Atlas population is predicted to disappear within 15-20 years. As the most seized CITES mammal in the EU, accounting for 25% of live mammal seizures, plus the rise of new markets in Serbia, Russia and Ukraine, Barbary macaques desperately need to be included in Appendix I to be given the highest level of protection. View the full briefing »

  • Include all African elephant populations in Appendix I by up-listing those in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

    Poaching for ivory poses an immediate threat to African elephants. In Africa, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012, with most illegal ivory destined for China. Poaching rates overall remain higher than the normal growth rate of elephant populations. This essential up-listing is backed by an overwhelming majority of African elephant range states and will send a clear message to the world reflecting global determination to halt potential extinction. View the full briefing »

ADI will also be supporting a number of general measures at CITES, including reduction strategies to combat illegal trade in CITES-listed species, the removal of the ‘personal and household effects’ exemption for hunting trophies of species listed in Appendix I and II, the closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory, and a restriction on trade of live elephants, to prevent elephants being taken from the wild into captivity. View the wildlife briefings »

Proposals ADI is opposing:

  • Amend Appendix II to allow the trade of southern white rhinoceros horn from natural deaths, recovered poached horn, and harvested from live animals.

    Southern white rhinos are near threated, with their principal threat being poaching for their horn. To amend Appendix II to allow the trade of horn in some circumstances would not only undermine international and domestic bans and complicate enforcement, but it could encourage trade and provide a route for laundering illegal horns. Since 2008, almost 6,000 southern white rhino have been poached, and this amendment provides zero evidence of positive impact on rhino conservation. Further to this, no details have been given on how a legal trade would be operated, possible licensing, and how illegal horn would be prevented from entering legal trade. View the full briefing »

  • Delete wood bison from Appendix II.

    Wood bison are a near threatened species. Yielding a small population, historical decline, and high vulnerability to disease and severe weather, wood bison should in fact qualify for Appendix I status, not deletion from Appendix II. Known trade may be having a detrimental effect on these animals; over the past five years, 60 live exports from Canada to establish/re-establish specimens in Russia and the USA have been recorded, along with 16 sport-hunted trophies. View the full briefing »

  • Transfer Florida panther and Eastern cougar from Appendix I to Appendix II.

    Both these near-threatened species already have very small populations and have experienced historical declines, with one of their biggest threats being habitat loss. Trade in Florida panther and Eastern cougar primarily exists for scientific purposes, and a down-listing could result in relaxation of controls over killing and trade, especially when taking into account potential international demand. View the full briefing »

  • Transfer cape mountain zebra from Appendix I to Appendix II.

    Cape mountain zebra are a vulnerable species, with a total population of just 4,791 in 75 subpopulations. Of those subpopulations, 48% have less than 100 individuals remaining. The proposal to down-list the species is based on the assumption that by allowing trophy-hunting exports, economic incentive would be created to maintain herds. This rationale is poor, as trophies have been exported in previous years, and one of the cape mountain zebra’s biggest threats is a lack of genetic diversity (resulting in an increased risk of inbreeding and possible infection) caused by uncontrolled hunting in the 1950s. View the full briefing »

  • Remove Namibia reference from the annotation of Appendix II for African elephant.

    Populations are experiencing unprecedented levels of poaching and habitat loss. Between 2008 and 2014, Namibia gross exports included 32 live animals, 690 tusks, and 387 trophies, so to remove all CITES trade restrictions for Namibia would put this already vulnerable species in more danger.

  • Remove Zimbabwe reference from the annotation of Appendix II for African elephant.

    In Zimbabwe, vulnerable African elephant populations are experiencing unprecedented levels of poaching and habitat loss. Between 2001 and 2014, the total Zimbabwean population declined by 7% and 27 surveys in 2014 showed a 40-75% decline in key northern elephant populations in that time period. Zimbabwe’s gross exports between 2008 and 2014 included 2,320 trophies, 31 live animals, and 2,282 tusks. Removing the Zimbabwe reference from Appendix II in relation to African elephant would be dangerous, plus there are concerns about thefts from government stocks, and irregularities in its registration and export.

Ways you can support ADI’s work at CITES CoP17 and push for wildlife protections:

  • Urge your government to commit to helping wildlife under threat - contact DEFRA in the UK and USFWS in the US.

  • Ask your MP or Congress member to support wildlife protections at CoP17. We have a template letter you can use here.

  • Write to your local newspaper to help spread the word.

  • Show your solidarity with lions, elephants, rhino, or other wildlife, by changing your profile picture to one of our #TakingAStand designs.

  • Hold a fun fundraiser to help wild animals in need.

  • Send us photos of you in action for animals, whether you’re distributing our resources dressed as a lion, or taking part in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos! Email them to

  • Donate to help ADI save endangered and threatened species.

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