CITES Dateline – Bangkok, Saturday, March 2, 2013

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The main CITES meeting begins tomorrow, but the CITES Standing Committee (executive body) met today to consider a number of issues. Between the formal discussions and many opportunities for side meetings, SCI and SCI Foundation have already secured some victories and have laid the groundwork for other major issues.

LIONS

There are no rumors yet of potential uplistings of lions at this meeting, but lion issues don’t come up for several days.  Your delegations met tonight with lion experts to discuss Tanzania’s age-based lion management program.

Opening of Cameroon Hippo Trophy Export Remains Possible

The benefits of sport hunting were recognized when the Standing Committee considered a quota of 10 trophies per year for hippos from Cameroon.  Cameroon used to export 45 trophies per year but these were banned by the Standing Committee when they had failed to comply with hippo management recommendations from the CITES Animals Committee.  Recently, Cameroon provided substantial information to CITES.  The Standing Committee agreed to consider the 10-trophy quota pending the completion of a national survey of Cameroon’s hippo population.  A decision on the quota will be made in a few months.

POLAR BEARS

SCI and SCI Foundation delegations picked up lots of indications of opposition to the U.S. proposal to list the polar bear on Appendix I (“endangered”).  SCI and SCI Foundation added our voices to the lobbying against the proposal.  On the other side, the animal rights folks are also lobbying, running around with little stuffed polar bears with signs saying “save me.”

Rhino Trophy Export Ban possible  

Kenya has proposed banning rhino trophy exports from South Africa as their contribution to knocking down rhino poaching.  SCI and SCI Foundation delegations sounded out many Parties and got lots of indications of opposition to Kenya’s proposal.

LEOPARDS

SCI and SCI Foundation began talks with key countries to support the effort to remove technical barriers to leopard trophy imports into the U.S. while eliminating some harmful language from the U.S. paper that was proposed.

NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS

SCI and SCI Foundation began talks with key countries to develop strategies and language to change a set of guidelines that could affect all permits issued by CITES countries.  Each permit must have a “non-detriment finding” and so-called guidelines for making these findings are on the table for consideration.  Some of the language in the guidelines could cause problems.

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