CITES Dateline – Bangkok, Tuesday, March 12, 2013

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CITES Timetable for Lions:

The study period on determining the status of lion populations was extended and SCI and SCI Foundation are not hearing anything to indicate that decision will be changed during the final two days of CoP16.  Namibia and Kenya will make the “Periodic Review” report on lions to the next CITES Animals Committee meeting in 2014.  CITES will probably continue to discuss the status of lions until its 2015 meeting before making any recommendation on whether to change the CITES listing of the species.

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Will the Polar Bear Vote get Re-opened? 

Rumors change by the moment, but the smart money says that the U.S. will not want to spoil its big wins in getting several shark species listed by bringing up polar bears again. If the proposal is reintroduced it is almost certain to be defeated.

Scott Schliebe USFWS
Scott Schliebe USFWS

Rhinos Go Our Way, but Vietnam takes a Parting Shot:  

The very last item taken up today was the rhino document.  SCI and SCI Foundation were successful in preventing any effort by Kenya to include a ban on rhino trophy exports from South Africa and in defeating an effort to require a universal registry for rhino horn trophies.  The document, as it was approved, should help to end the rhino poaching without punishing hunters and without harming rhino conservation by eliminating the important revenues derived from legitimate rhino trophy hunting.

At the last moment of the session, Vietnam, which was taking heavy blame for being a key center for illegal marketing of poached rhino horn, asked the Parties to revisit the definition of a hunting trophy.  They said that some of the Vietnamese who have rhino horn hunting trophies have cut them up to make them into ashtrays and lamp bases.  Vietnam’s request was referred to the Standing Committee next year and, at the suggestion of the U.S., was limited to rhino horn trophies, not all hunting trophies.  (The U.S. was referring to discussions at an earlier CoP where SCI and SCI Foundation were successful in solving trophy importation problems by getting recognition that items made from trophy animals were also considered to be trophies.)

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Elephant Hunting Trophy Exports Protected: 

The animal rights crowd failed in their effort to get a Party to propose a restriction on elephant trophy export quotas.  They wanted to punish any elephant hunting range state (and hunters) if the range state was late in informing the CITES Secretariat about its annual quota.  They would have cut the quota to zero for the entire year.  SCI and SCI Foundation spoke to several delegations to head this off.  The elephant documents were all approved today without any year-long zero quota language.

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