Why Today Really Matters

Biodiversity across the world is no longer within the “safe limit”

according to a major new study published in the journal Science on 15 July 2016.

That is why today, September 24 2016, is a day of supreme importance for the world’s wildlife.

At a time when we are facing the planet’s 6th Mass Extinction, it marks the opening of COP17 in Johannesburg, South Africa – the time and place where the 183 countries that are signatories to CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, are meeting to discuss how best to protect our endangered animals and plants.

“Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.” CITES COP17

The 17th Convention of Parties will last from 24 September – 5 October

A few facts:

  • CITES governs the trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals
  • It is estimated by TRAFFIC which monitors the black market wildlife trade, that billions of dollars worth of plant and animal species are traded illegally each year,
  • At COP17 it will consider more than 200 proposals, some of which arise from the IUCN World Congress in Hawaii that took place earlier this month
  • 62 of the proposals are aimed at either loosening or tightening trade restrictions on certain species

Here are a few of the main proposals:

  • A permanent ban on international trade in elephant ivory
  • A ban on the trade in pangolins and pangolin parts
  • Swaziland’s proposal to legalise international trade in rhino horn
  • Protection for more species of sharks and rays
  • Proposal to move the African grey parrot from Appendix II to Appendix I, the strictest Endangered category

For more information on these proposals see Take Part

All you need to know about COP17 here

Sign petition here to tell CITES not to legalise ivory & rhino horn trade

Sign petition here to tell CITES ban the taking of elephants from the wild

Update

28 September 2016 CITES today banned the international trade in all 8 species of pangolin by transferring them to Appendix 1 – the strictest protection available under international law – NRDC

Related posts

Planet at the Crossroads

Half for Us Half for the Animals

Nations of the World Step Up for Elephants & Rhinos

Man, Money & Rhinos – Unravelling the Tangled Knot of Poaching

Saving Wildlife on the World Wide Web

Ten Fascinating Ways Technology is Saving Animals

Endangered 13 – A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species

7 thoughts on “Why Today Really Matters

  1. Those who care about animals and biodiversity have several big problems to confront and overcome: (1) The continuing growing human population that destroys habitat and requires constantly growing food supplies to the extent that countries are outgrowing their carrying capacity; (2) The growing use of bushmeat for food and the selling of animal parts as a source of income that are destroying many wild lives; and (3) The final question that it all comes down to: Which are more important, human lives or animal lives? A minority of us refuse to discount animal lives as unimportant and needing to be sacrificed. But even conservationists and their organizations tend to cave in in order to appease politicians, to pacify people who benefit animal exploitation, and to gain membership from individuals and corporations that do not want to seem radical in their approach to the environment or be accused of putting animals before people.

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  2. Those who care about animals and biodiversity have several big problems to confront and overcome: (1) The continuing growing human population that destroys habitat and requires constantly increasing food supplies to the point that countries are outgrowing their carrying capacity; (2) The continuing use of bushmeat for food and the selling of animal parts as a source of income which destroy many wild lives; and (3) The final question that it all comes down to: Which are more important, human lives or animal lives?

    A minority of us refuse to discount animal lives as unimportant and needing to be sacrificed. But even conservationists and their organizations tend to cave in in order to appease politicians, to pacify people who benefit animal exploitation, and to gain membership from individuals and corporations that do not want to seem radical in their approach or to be accused of putting animals before people.

    Personally, I refuse to comply with the demand. I will NOT say we are the masters of the planet and are superior to all else on earth.

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  3. Sadly, what you say is absolutely true. This is what makes animal advocacy such an uphill struggle. I am with you 100%. It’s utter arrogance on the part of the human race to think that we are of higher status or value than any other species, when in fact we are a blight on the face of the planet. Without our destructive presence, biodiversity would be flourishing. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

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