CITES initiative to improve regulation of trade in captive-raised animals and artificially propagated plants

The CITES Secretariat is making strides in improving the regulation of trade in captive-raised animals and artificially propagated plants with the publications of two guides for inspecting facilities producing such animals and plants, as well as guidance on the use of source codes.

The two guides, namely the Guidelines for inspection of captive-breeding and ranching facilities and the Guide to the application of CITES source codes can be found on the CITES website and have been translated into several Asian languages (Chinese, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese) to assist CITES officials in their work.

The Secretariat will use these two guides in a training workshop it is organizing in May 2018 in Indonesia, the first of a series around the world aimed at improving the implementation of the Convention for captive-raised animals and artificially propagated plants.

Mr. John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, highlighted that “today, international trade in ‘wild’ animals and plants is mainly in specimens from captive-raised or artificially propagated sources. This trade includes reptiles for skins, birds and ornamental fish for pets, and orchids as ornaments. The significant increase in this type of trade has given rise to some concerns related to the control of the production and trade and the Secretariat is working with Parties to improve the implementation of the Convention for these specimens.”

As the proportion of trade in captive-raised animals and artificially propagated plants increased, a number of Resolutions and Decisions were adopted by the Parties to regulate and define the terms and conditions for such production and trade. But, to date, no single consistent and coherent framework exists and there have been instances of false or incorrect declarations of the source of the animals or plants.

The series of workshops aims, inter alia, to ensure that the source codes, i.e. the letters used on CITES permits and certificates to indicate the source of the internationally traded specimen, are applied correctly and that misuse – both intentionally and inadvertently – is detected and corrected. Misuse of source codes can have negative implications for the conservation of the species concerned and undermine the purpose and effective implementation of the Convention.

Participants to the workshops will also discuss whether raising animals in captivity and artificial propagation of plants can benefit the conservation of the species in trade and the ecosystems more broadly, as well as the purpose of the system of source codes. These reflections will feed into a broader analysis and recommendations to be produced by the Secretariat for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 2019.