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Placing Wildlife Before Borders at CITES

  • Thursday, September 15, 2016
  • Johannesburg
Ivory pyres waiting to be burned in Kenya earlier this year

AWF believes Africa’s unique wildlife need to be viewed and managed in total – as a larger continental herd for Africa’s elephants and as one continental pride for Africa’s lions.

We urge a Pan-African approach that is based in science and focuses on the needs of the species as a whole. Africa must come together on these issues with urgency and in unified spirit. The continent, indeed the planet, cannot wait for debate or allow disagreement to forestall efforts that prevent Africa’s natural heritage from disappearing.

CITES is an important mechanism that governs international trade in over 35,000 species. It can and should be adjusted to account for pragmatic realities. Highly endangered species like elephants, lions and rhinos are under too much threat to be traded sustainably.

We urge national governments and members of CITES to utilize science within their proposals which focuses on protecting these species in their entirety throughout the continent.

Countries continue to play one against the other for narrow national interests. It is time for range states to look at the species that live within their borders as parts of larger metapopulations. AWF supports and stands with the governments and leaders who have the courage to put Africa’s wildlife before borders.

> ​Read AWF's full statement and recommendations

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Image of a rhino is the African savannah.
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