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What is CITES?




CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.


CITES was first signed in 1973 and now has 183 member countries, known as Parties. These Parties agree to regulate the international trade in listed species of plants and animals and their parts and products. The CITES Secretariat, based in Geneva, Switzerland, provides administrative and technical support to the Parties.


Under CITES, species are listed in one of three appendices, depending on their conservation status. Appendix I includes species that are the most endangered, and trade in these species is generally prohibited. Appendix II includes species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless trade is strictly regulated. Appendix III includes species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for help in controlling the trade in those species.


CITES has been successful in regulating international trade in many species and has contributed to the conservation of many animals and plants. However, illegal trade in wildlife still remains a major problem, and CITES Parties continue to work together to combat this issue.





What are some species protected under CITES?

CITES protects a wide variety of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and plants. Some examples of species that are protected under CITES include elephants, rhinos, tigers, sharks, rays, pangolins, and orchids.


Elephants and rhinos are protected under CITES Appendix I, which means that international trade in these species is generally prohibited. This is because both species are threatened with extinction due to poaching and habitat loss.


Tigers are also protected under CITES Appendix I. In addition to being threatened by poaching, tigers are also at risk from habitat loss and the illegal trade in tiger parts and products.


Sharks and rays are protected under CITES Appendix II. These species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but their populations are declining due to overfishing and other human activities. Trade in these species is regulated to ensure that it is sustainable and does not harm their populations.


Pangolins are also protected under CITES Appendix II. These unusual mammals are the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world, and they are at risk from illegal trade in their meat and scales.


Orchids are protected under CITES Appendix II. Many species of orchids are threatened by habitat destruction and the illegal trade in wild-collected plants. Trade in these species is regulated to ensure that it is sustainable and does not harm their populations.




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