CITES bans trade of all eight pangolin speciesCountries on Wednesday voted by an overwhelming majority to ban trade in all eight pangolin species, including four Asian pangolin species, to save them from going extinct.
Countries on Wednesday voted by an overwhelming majority to ban trade in all eight pangolin species, including four Asian pangolin species, to save them from going extinct.
Delegates from over 110 countries attending the 17th meeting of the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa voted for the proposal to upgrade the Asian and African pangolins—the world’s most trafficked wildlife from the existing Appendix II to Appendix I—to ensure stronger national and international protection measures, stricter penalties and improve enforcement. The proposal is set to be approved next week. Key wildlife species, including tigers, rhinos and elephants are listed under Appendix I.
The Nepal government had submitted the proposal to transfer Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)—two species found in the country—out of four Asian species to list under Appendix I for higher protection measures at the CITES meeting that regulates international wildlife trade. Besides Nepal, countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the United States, Vietnam, the Philippines had tabled proposals to transfer four Asian pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I. The two other Asian pangolins are Sunda Pangolin
(Manis javanica) and Philippine Pangolin (Manis culionesis).
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has welcomed the CITES’ move, saying that it is a huge win and rare piece of good news for some of the world’s most trafficked and endangered animals. “Giving pangolins full protection under CITES will eliminate any question about legality of trade, making it harder for criminals to traffic them and increasing the consequences for those who do,” the WWF said in a statement.
There has been increasing seizures of scales and meat of pangolin, locally known as Salak, both within and outside the country in recent years.
According to authorities, there is still no estimate on the total population of the two pangolin species in Nepal, but are found widely distributed in eastern Nepal and some parts of central Nepal. A report in 2015 found seizures in China, Vietnam and Nepal involved an estimated 3,719 individuals of Chinese pangolins in 2015.