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7 Big Decisions at The Global Wildlife Summit

Via The Guardian By Bibi van der Zee  

A major meeting on the regulation of trade in endangered species is drawing to a close in Johannesburg - here are seven of its key hits and misses.


1. Pangolin


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  Sadly for the pangolin, the tough brown scales that so neatly tile its body are in huge demand for medicinal purposes, while the flesh that they protect is also appreciated as a delicacy in Vietnam and some parts of China. Earlier this month, conservationists warned of the devastating decline in pangolin populations. Cites followed up by putting all pangolin species into the highest category of protection.    

2. Grey parrot


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  Cheers and applause greeted the decision to finally ban the international trade in wild African grey parrot. This beautiful and highly intelligent creature – one study found that they are capable of the same logical reasoning as a four-year old human – has been heavily hunted in the central and western African countries where they are native. The birds are hugely popular around the world as pets, but their numbers in the wild have dwindled, with Ghana estimated to have lost 90-99% of its wild population. The conference voted to move the parrot into Appendix I – the highest level of protection.    

3. Rosewood


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  With its distinctive dark auburn sheen, rosewood is loved by consumers who snap up luxury rosewood furniture in China. But the explosion in demand – the market has grown 65 times since 2005 and is now worth $2.2bn a year – is having a devastating impact on the forests in South-East Asia where the rosewood tree grows, and traffickers are now looking for sources in Africa and Central America. By a consensus decision, the Cites conference placed all 300 types of rosewood under trade restrictions.    

4. Rhinos


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  A proposal from Swaziland that would have allowed it to sell its 330kg stockpile of horn in order, it said, to use the money to help support rhino conservation work, was defeated. As a recent Guardian investigation revealed, international criminal networks are making millions by smuggling rhino horn out of Kenya and South Africa into Asia where it is used for so-called medicinal purposes. There is a misplaced belief that rhino horn can increase fertility.    

5. Lions


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  One of the few disappointments for conservationists at the conference came with the defeat of a motion to increase protective measures for African lions. Lion parts from captive-bred lions are traded around the world, and observers cite what appears to be a growing market in lion bones for medicinal purposes in Asia. But a motion to ban all trade in lion parts was defeated. Trade in wild lion parts will continue to be prohibited, but the hoped for ban on trade in captive lion parts did not materialise. Humane Society International who campaigns with Blood Lions against captive breeding of lions, called the decision a “bitter disappointment”.   To read more about decisions 6 & 7 affecting sharks, rays, and elephants view the full article on The Guardian

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