CITES CoP 2019: Giraffes accorded protection from trade for the first time
The giraffe has been placed in Appendix II of CITES, which places prohibitions on uncontrolled trade in a species. The Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES in Geneva passed a resolution to place the giraffe in Appendix II of CITES.
Giraffes, those tall, stately and graceful animals of Africa’s savannahs, have been accorded protection from unregulated trade as the world finally woke up to their ‘silent extinction’.
- The Appendix II listing was proposed by Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
- “Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival,”
- Giraffes once ranged over much of the semi-arid savannah and savannah woodlands of Africa. But their numbers have plummeted dramatically — by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years — due to threats including international trade in their parts, as well as habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting.
- While giraffes fall prey to poaching for bush meat, bones, skin and tail hair, there is also a significant amount of international trade in their bone carvings and trophies.
- There is currently only one recognized species of giraffe, with nine sub-species. They have been listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Species Red List since 2016, with some sub-species classified as ‘endangered’’ or ‘critically endangered’.
- Five of the nine sub-species have only a small wild population, while four have a decreasing population trend. All are affected by trade.
- While the Appendix II listing will not stop all trade in giraffe parts, it will ensure this is not contributing to further population declines and provide global scale data that could not otherwise be obtained.