Pushing for Asian elephants ahead of CITES 70th Standing Committee


September 2018

As part of our continuing work to get Asian elephants onto the international conservation agenda Elephant Family’s Conservation Programme Manager, Caitlin Melidonis was in Brussels on September 3rd helping to raise the issue of Asian elephants with the EU ahead of the 70th CITES Standing Committee in October – the body that governs the trade in endangered species.

Addressing the Chair she highlighted the rise in poaching incidents, specifically in Vietnam and Myanmar and the increased use of Asian elephant skin evidenced in Elephant Family’s report published earlier this year. Afforded the highest protection under international law [Appendix I] all trade in Asian elephants is illegal but Caitlin made the point that the convention refers explicitly and almost entirely to live trade in Asian elephants and to the ivory trade in African elephants leaving Asian elephants poorly served by the Convention and increasingly vulnerable to trade.

“Elephant Family sent draft amendments to the relevant Decisions in an effort to address these shortcomings, but received no response,” she told the EU. “We are also working to secure the support of other range states to help push through these amendments.”

She closed by saying: “We respectfully request that the EU makes an intervention and asks the CITES Secretariat to push for the implementation of Decision 17.217 and 17.218 and, if appropriate, express concern at the apparent lack of implementation and also to amend 17.217 to address the illegal trade in all parts and derivatives of Asian elephants including skin.”

We are now hoping that the EU agrees to an intervention that will help secure the key changes required.

For more on CITES see their website at:  https://www.cites.org/ 

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