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EU Parliament Motion for a Resolution - Recommendations for the Upcoming CITES Meeting

LionAid welcomes the many good recommendations made by MEPs on the EU Strategic Objectives calling for the EU Member States to take a unified stance on a diversity of trade and conservation issues at the CITES Conference of Parties in March. Among others, we would highlight the following recommendations:

Big Cats:

22. “Urges the European Union and the Member States to call for trade suspensions against Parties that have failed to comply with CITES decision 14.69 on tigers, and Parties that encourage the breeding of tigers for trade in their parts or derivatives.”

LionAid would recommend that Parties like South Africa engaged in live trade of captive bred tigers with China and Vietnam to augment captive populations in those nations to be used for parts and derivatives also be censured.

23. “Urges the CITES Parties to stop unsustainable and unethical trophy hunting, which has caused large scale declines in African lion populations.” 

LionAid is pleased to have contributed to this resolution and we are pleased to see this parallel initiative to the one now being undertaken by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. ( see our report here)

24. “Regrets that no proposal has been submitted to transfer the lion (Panthera leo) from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I.”

This is especially needed for genetically distinct western and central African lion populations, of which LionAid estimates not more than 645-795 remain. ( see our latest report on lion population numbers here)

29. “Urges the European Union and the EU Member States to support a draft decision tabled by Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to study the legal and illegal trade in cheetahs.”

LionAid would hope this includes a cessation of trade in captive bred cheetahs (most from South Africa) to provide the pet trade in United Arab Emirates.

Other Species

33. "Urges the European Union and the Member States to support … the transfer of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I as proposed by the United States and supported by the Russian Federation.”

LionAid notes that WWF opposes such uplisting and that the UK is also not convinced – citing that climate change is a bigger threat than trade. LionAid would argue that all measures should be taken to prevent further declines in polar bears including commercial offtake.

There are further good suggestions calling for support of Kenya’s proposal for a moratorium on rhino trophy hunting, rejection of any proposals to downlist African elephants, and the imposition of severe penalties in countries where rhino horn is traded. Also, the Motion calls for a removal of CITES loopholes like the “personal and household effects derogation” that allows hunting trophies to escape from trade considerations, and mentions the allegations that EU citizens are being used as intermediaries in the transfer of rhino horns to Vietnam.

In essence, this Motion is a call for CITES to get their act together (calling on CITES to base decisions on science, urging the adoption of precautionary measures, reminding that CITES listed species demand protection from trade, urging CITES to pay attention to biodiversity issues and perhaps not just the trade in individual species, deploring the use of secret ballots in the past, and reminding CITES between the lines that the EU is a major donor to CITES operations). I would urge all to read the document carefully and note what is said between the lines and then urgently write to your Member of European Parliament strongly recommending support.

Please support us if you can to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you. 

Posted by Pieter Kat at 13:32

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