CITES Dateline – Bangkok, Monday, March 11, 2013

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Will the Polar Bear Vote get Re-opened?  

That is the question of the day.  SCI and SCI Foundation have been talking to delegates. The latest information is that the U.S. will bring it back in a modified form.  The European Union is not inclined to re-open the issue on its own. If the U.S. opens the door to the issue the European Union may revive its compromise proposal to leave the polar on Appendix II but to impose management requirements on Canada.

Looking Good for Rhinos:

A consensus document was approved by the working group on rhino horn trade and will come to Committee tomorrow for final approval. The “animal rights” groups have made a last-minute effort to require registration of all rhino horn trophies world-wide.  That got stopped in its tracks in the rhino working group.

Personal Effects Exemption is Still Open for Items Made of Elephant Hair or Hide:

Last week SCI and SCI Foundation reported that there was a move to deny the personal effects exemption to all hunting trophies that failed. But in its place there was general agreement among the Parties to deny the exemption for rhino horn and elephant.  As a practical matter, the exporting countries already require permits for the original export of trophies (including items made from trophy animals).  The exemption becomes useful if you re-export the item for personal use.  SCI and SCI Foundation worked with South Africa, who agreed that this restriction should be applied to rhino horn but in the case of elephant should apply only to ivory.

Capture 5

A Better System Adopted for Leopard Trophies:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has seized several leopard trophy shipments coming into the U.S. because of bureaucratic disagreements between the U.S. and the exporting counties over the information shown on the permits.  The disagreement was resolved today in a document that was sponsored by the U.S., South Africa, and Botswana. Safari Club and South Africa were in agreement on language improvements that were suggested during the debate on this issue; these changes were incorporated to the final document.  The document sets uniform interpretations of the required language on the permits and the associated tags on the trophies. The Parties are looking at applying the same system to elephant, crocodile, and possibly markhor shipments.  This should provide clarity for hunters, the USFWS, and exporting nations.

Are the Decisions Final?

The way a CITES meeting works is that all the work is handled first in one of two main committees.  The committees make decisions, taking votes if necessary.  When the committees complete their work on Tuesday, every item of business comes back for a second round when all the Parties meet for the last two days, Wednesday and Thursday, in “Plenary” session.  There are complex rules that govern how an item that has already been approved or defeated in one of the committees can be re-opened in Plenary.  Issues on which the votes were close in committee or issues which are highly political are the ones that most often get re-opened.

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