(Xinhua) -- An international wildlife body on
Wednesday called for international cooperation to tackle illicit
wildlife trade as countries will gather in South Africa later
this week for a global conference on conservation.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
(IFAW) said the survival of many species will be affected by
decisions taken by the delegates at the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES), including rhinos, lions, elephants, pangolins,
Barbary macaques and African grey parrots.
“Illegal and unsustainable wildlife
trade has become such a huge threat to many species that
international cooperation between governments, NGOs and
other stakeholders is absolutely vital in tackling it,” IFAW
CEO Azzedine Downes said in a statement received in Nairobi.
CITES will hold its 17th
Conference of the Parties from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5 in South
Africa where ivory trade, and the proposal by Gabon and others
to transfer the African grey parrot to Appendix I will be highly
During the conference, Zimbabwe and
Namibia are keen to lessen protection status of their elephant
populations in order to be able to sell stockpiled ivory.
But the African Elephant Coalition,
comprising 29 African countries, has put forward a package of
five proposals for stronger elephant protection—one of them asks
to list all elephant populations on Appendix I, thus prohibiting
any international commercial trade.
“Despite public outcry and numerous
positive international efforts to draw attention to the
elephant crisis, poaching and associated illicit ivory trade
continues to escalate,” said Jason Bell, IFAW’s Elephant
According to IFAW, another focus for
this conference is the pangolin—the most illegally traded mammal
in the world, with more than a million taken from the wild in
the past decade.
Mark Hofberg, IFAW’s pangolin expert
said the world could very soon see this amazing species
disappear, if the unsustainable trade continues.
“All eight pangolin species have to be
transferred to Appendix I to ensure maximum protection from
further commercial trade in their parts,” Hofberg added.