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BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE

Illegal wildlife trade across
the world is worth billions of dollars each year and is one of the major threats
to the survival of our most iconic species in the wildlife such as Rhinos, Tigers
and Elephants. According to U.S., illegal trade in endangered
wildlife products, including rhino horns, elephant ivory, leather, and turtle
shells, is estimated to worth more than $7 billion- $10 billion annually. These
figures does not include illegal logging and illegal fishing, which accounts for
an additional $30 billion – $100 billion annually and $10 billion- $23 billion
annually, respectively. Each year, millions and millions of endangered plants
and animals are being caught or harvested from the wild and then sold as pets,
food, leather, ornamental plants, and medicine.
While a huge deal of this trade is legal and is not harming wild populations
majorly, a worryingly large proportion is illegal — and threatens the survival
of thousands of endangered species in the wildlife.

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Wildlife crime is a big
business. They are being by dangerous international networks all across the
world. In fact, wildlife and various animal parts are trafficked to the extent
that of illegal drugs and arms. By very nature of these, it is almost
impossible to obtain exact figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade
across the world. Experts at the wildlife trade monitoring network – TRAFFIC,
estimate that the aforementioned trade runs into hundreds of millions of
dollars.

As
a response to these frightening facts, representatives from around the world
united in ratifying the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to protect the world’s wild plant and animal
species by regulating their use in commercial trade. As of 2016, there are 183
signatories to CITES. CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in
1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a
meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., the United
States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force.
The original of the Convention was deposited with the Depositary Government in
the Chinese,
English, French, Russian and Spanish languages,
each version being equally authentic.

Ever
since the convention came into force, more than 35,000 species of such
endangered animals and plants have been listed on the appendices of the
convention. It includes from tigers and elephants to mahogany and orchids. Its primary
aim is to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants mentioned
in such appendices does not threaten their survival.

 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.      What
kind of control does CITES have on the “parties to the convention”?

2.      How
does CITES works?

3.      Whether
CITES had been successful in its mission?

4.      Whether
India is on the path which is laid by the CITES?

 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

For
conducting my research on “CITES – Convention on the International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”, I have used the secondary method
of research. Secondary research involves the summary, and synthesis of existing
research to stimulate a collective and common idea, rather than the primary research
which involves data collection from experiments. The various secondary sources
to be used are – International instruments, guidelines of such conventions
(CITES), various journals, articles, conference paper, etc.

 

CONCLUSION

Undoubtedly,
CITES is one of the most widely accepted convention, with 183 parties to the
convention. The most recent government to sign the convention thereby becoming
a party to the convention is Tonga. Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than
170 South Pacific Islands, among which only 36 are inhabited.

For
many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest
membership (now 183 parties). The convention has played a major and significant
role in the conservation of many species that may have gone extinct freely
traded. There have been listing of more and more species at every conference of
the CITES. As of now the convention tends to protect more than 35,000 species
of animals and plants in howsoever they are being traded.

As
this is just the interim report to my project titled “CITES – Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora”, further full-fledged research has to be done so that
I can find answers to the research questions mentioned above and only then I
can come to any conclusion pertaining to my research project.

 

REFERENCES

·        
Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Trade, FFI

·        
State
Department, “Secretary Clinton Hosts Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation,”
media note, November 8, 2012.

·        
Parvaze
A Sheikh, M. Lynne Corn, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CRS
Report, 2016)

·        
Christian
Nellemann, ed. (INTERPOL and United Nations Environment Programme UNEP),
Green Carbon, Black Trade, 2012.

·        
WWF
Global, Unsustainable and illegal
wildlife trade WWF

·        
Illegal wildlife trade, World Wide Fund

·        
WWF GlobalCITES: ensuring that species are not threatened by international trade.

·        
https://www.cites.org/

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