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CITES Matters: Next Conference, Polar Bears, Lions
Written By John J. Jackson III, Conservation Force Chairman & President
(posted October 2015)
The next Conference of the Parties (CoP 17) is to be in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 through October 5, 2016. The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has published its provisional positions, 80 FR 51830, August 26, 2015. USFWS "is likely to propose" for the third consecutive CoP to list the polar bear on Appendix 1, which would prohibit all commercial trade, including that by American native people, otherwise allowed under the ESA and MMPA.
Since that published notice, the 28th Animals Committee of CITES was held in Tel Aviv, Israel and was attended by yours truly. Interestingly, the polar bear were given a bill of good health in the Significant Trade Review Process. That is the process where the level of trade is reviewed as a check to make sure it is not excessive. The bear, over the objection of the USFWS, was cleared and removed from further review. That stamp of approval flies in the face of USFWS's likely proposal to move for uplisting.
The African lion was also due to be reviewed in another process, the Periodic Review of its Listing Status. The matter was not ready and has been deferred, but is to be completed before the Standing Committee on January 11, 2016. Nevertheless, Kenya issued an information document at the Animals Committee meeting that it intends to file a proposal at CoP 17 to uplist the lion to Appendix I.
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
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