Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Save the panthers and cougars – CITES CoP17 action call

Posted: 14 September 2016. Updated: 5 October 2016

UPDATE: CITES CoP17 voted to down-list the species to Appendix II status. See full results from CITES CoP17 here »

At less than 160 individuals, the Florida panther has a very small population size; genetic diversity is threatened, and its little remaining habitat is crucial to species survival. Yet staggering human population growth and climate change means increasing habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, including massive water issues leading to a current state of emergency.

Although there has been very little recent international trade in either subspecies, exports of trophies from hunting from the closely related cougar numbered 1,069 from the US and Canada between 2005-2014. Given the high level of international trade in this Appendix-II listed cougar, there is clear potential for international demand for these subspecies. Any increase in demand would threaten their survival.

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.

  • 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 campaign for animals at CITES and beyond.

The Proposal

Proposal 5: Transfer from Appendix I to Appendix II.
Party: Canada.

ADI OPPOSES Canada’s proposal to redesignate these animals to Appendix II, noting:

  • New data and conflicting accounts question the status of the Eastern cougar, once considered to be extinct.

  • The Florida panther now exists as a very small remnant population, <160 individuals, in fragmented, isolated pockets in southwest Florida - less than 5% of its former habitat. Panthers face increasing and evolving threats from lost and degraded habitat due to climate change, state water issues, and staggering human growth and development.

  • Current trade in App. II cougar species indicates hunting presents a potential threat if downlisted.

  • Both species meet the criteria for Appendix I: very small wild populations; significant historic populations and range declines; significant, increasing habitat loss and degradation; and threats presented by potential international trade.

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