UN Wildlife Conference Ensures Protection of Sharks, Turtles

The recent United Nations international wildlife conference enacted some of the most important protection related to shark species which are a prime target in the fin trade. The number of lizards, frogs, and turtles is also decreasing due to the pet trade. The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in Panama.

The delegates at the United Nations wildlife conference came up with a rejection of a proposal that asked for the reopening of the ivory trade. It has to be noted that the ivory ban was enacted in 1989. The conference also revolved around the protection of over 500 species.

Susan Lieberman who is the vice president of international policy at Wildlife Conservation Society stated that good news from CITES is good news for wildlife. The treaty acts as a pillar for international conservation and makes sure that participating countries come together for issues such as climate change, biodiversity collapse, and pandemics.


Image: PBS

Various proposals have been adopted to combat over-exploitation and unsustainable trade and to reduce the threat of diminishing species in wild and their habitat loss. Interestingly, the international wildlife trade treaty was adopted almost five decades ago in Washington, D.C., and was praised for being able to combat illegal wildlife trade related to ivory and rhino horns. It also helped whales and sea turtles.

Though the same has been noted to have limitations which include its dependence on cash-strapped developing countries. The illegal trade has been reported to be a $10 billion-a-year business.

The major achievement of 2022 was to provide protection for as many as 90 shark species which include 54 species of requiem sharks, 3 species of hammerhead sharks, the bonnethead shark, and 37 species of guitarfish. Many of these species never had trade protection but now as per Appendix II, the regulation of commercial trade will be ensured.

The concerning point is that the worldwide shark population is decreasing and the annual deaths due to fisheries have reached up to 100 million. The sharks are hunted majorly for their fins which find use in shark fin soup, a well-known delicacy in China and many Asian countries.

The conference also ensured the protection of many species of lizards, turtles, and frogs. Many species of songbirds also got trade protection. Though some of the controversial proposals didn’t get approved. Some African countries and conservational groups were hoping for a trade ban on hippos, which was refuted with an argument saying that many countries have a good hippo population and therefore trade is not a factor in their declining numbers.

Via: The Hindu

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