UN issues stamps to commemorate the World Wildlife Conference as #CoP17 kicks off in South Africa

Updated on 28 November 2016

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UN issues stamps to commemorate the World Wildlife Conference
as #CoP17 kicks off in South Africa

Geneva/Johannesburg, 24 September 2016: The United Nations Postal Administration issued 12stamps today to coincide with the 17th meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), known as CITES CoP17, or the World Wildlife Conference, being held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 24 September to 5 October 2016.

The stamps commemorate CITES CoP17 with 12 species of CITES-listed animals and plants found in Africa, including cape pangolin, lion, mountain gorilla, white rhinoceros, which are high on the agenda of the meeting.

Africa is home to a rich diversity of wild animals and plants, including some of the world's most admired species. However, the loss of habitat and poaching driven by illicit trafficking, with the latter being the most immediate threat for some species, has decimated both charismatic species, like elephantand rhino, and lesser known ones, such as pangolins, in recent years. Some of these species are featured on the stamps issued today. CoP17 has brought the world’s governments and wider community of interest together to tackle these issues, not only in Africa but on a global scale in its largest ever gathering.

Commenting on the issuance of this special edition of the UN Endangered Species Stamps, CITES Secretary-General, Mr. John E. Scanlon, said: “It is almost two decades since an African country has hosted a meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. All eyes will be focussed on South Africa and on CITES over the coming two weeks as its 182 Parties (181 countries and the European Union) take critical decisions affecting the future of some of the world’s most precious wildlife. Since July, the UN General Assembly has adopted two resolutions on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife. It is therefore highly appropriate that the UN Postal Administration issues these special stamps to raise awareness of wildlife conservation and to mark CITES CoP17.”

Mr. Thanawat Amnajanan, Chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, said: “The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has been working with CITES for its Endangered Species stamp series for over twenty years. The United Nations is honoured to issue this special “Eye on Africa” edition of Endangered Species stamps to celebrate and support the important work of CITES and to promote the CITES CoP17 - the World Wildlife Conference, in Johannesburg, South Africa. We wish all participating members and organisers a productive and successful event.”

The 12 species of wild animals and plants featured on the “Eye on Africa – CITES CoP17” series are:

  • Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
  • African lion (Panthera leo)
  • Avonia Quinaria
  • Cape pangolin (Smutsia temminckii)
  • Cape vulture (Gyps coprotheres)
  • Disa uniflora
  • Grey crowned crane(Balearica regulorum)
  • Madagascan mantella(Mantella madagascariensis)
  • Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei)
  • Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
  • Mystacidium Capense
  • White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

This is the 23rd edition on the UN Endangered Species stamps since the series started in 1993, featuring CITES-listed species each year.

The next edition of the UN species stamps is planned to be issued on 3 March, the day when CITES was signed in 1973, which is now the UN World Wildlife Day.

To purchase these stamps, as well as other UNPA products, please visit unstamps.org. You can also visit the UNPA stamp shops in New York, Geneva and Vienna or follow UNPA on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

For more information, contact Liu Yuan at +41 79 652 0108 or [email protected] or Victoria Holdsworth at [email protected].

A few quick facts:

Addax is a critically endangered species of antelope that lives in the Sahara desert. It is included in CITES Appendix I since 1983.

Disa uniflorais one of the best known species of orchid found in South Africa. It is also referred to as the red disa and the Pride of Table Mountain.

Gorillas are the largest of the living primates in the world and the Mountain Gorrila is among the most endangered. All primates are protected by CITES.

The Grey Crowned Crane occurs in dry savannah in Africa. It is among the crane species that do not migrate. The Grey Crowned Crane is on CITES Appendix II since 1985.

Lions are the largest member of the cat family and the largest of all African carnivores. CITES CoP17 will consider a proposal to transfer African lion to Appendix I for higher level protection.

The Nile crocodile is Africa's largest living reptile and is also considered the second largest extant reptile in the world.

Pangolins are most trafficked mammal in the world. Proposals seeking higher level of protection of all 8 pangolin species under CITES trade control are tabled for consideration at CoP17.

The white rhino, which represented a conservation success only a decade ago, has been subject to serious poaching,  resulting in a 9,000% increase in rhinos illegally killed since 2007.


With 183 Parties, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. Thousands of species are internationally traded and used by people in their daily lives for food, housing, health care, ecotourism, cosmetics or fashion.

CITES regulates international trade in over 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The CITES permit system seeks to ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable.

CITES was signed in Washington D.C. on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975.

Learn more about CITES by visiting www.cites.org or connecting to:

  • www.twitter.com/CITES
  • www.facebook.com/CITES
  • www.youtube.com/c/CITES
  • www.flickr.com/CITES