Level of elephant poaching in Africa declining, but still high: CITES



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 The level of elephant poaching in Africa has declined somewhat since the peak in 2011, but remains at unsustainably high levels, a news release from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) said on Monday.

According to the news release, seven countries may be subject to a recommendation that would see trade suspended in all CITES-listed species for failing to make sufficient progress in preparing and adopting national legislation to implement and enforce CITES.

CITES, the world’s wildlife trade regulator since 1975, started its week-long 66th meeting of its standing committee on Monday to tackle crucial wildlife conservation and management issues here in Geneva.

Among the high-priority issues on the agenda are the illegal killing of elephants for their ivory tusks and rhinos for their horns, as well as the illegal trade in Asian big cats, pangolins and various high-value timber species.

A review of significant volumes of trade in selected species will also be considered during the meeting together with recommendations to ensure the trade of the species concerned is at sustainable level.

“Tackling illicit wildlife trafficking has risen to the top of the political agenda, and a global collective effort is underway to reverse the disturbing trends affecting elephants, rhinos, pangolins, rosewood, and other species,” noted CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon in Monday’s opening remarks.

According to him, 2016 will be a “critical” year for reviewing the impacts of the world’s collective endeavors, further strengthening policies, budgets, laws and enforcement, as well as enhancing measures to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.

“At the same time, we are seeing scaled-up efforts to improve legal and sustainable trade, such as through CITES parties’ concerted efforts to implement CITES listings of sharks,” added Scanlon.