For use of the media only;
not an official document.
Secretary-General calls on airlines to reconsider
boycotts of wildlife shipments
Geneva, 4 May
2001 - Boycotts by airline companies of shipments containing legally
traded wild animals strike against the interests of the animals
themselves and of poor people in developing countries, Willem Wijnstekers,
Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species said today. In addition, they do nothing to promote conservation
and are thus counter-productive.
Tuesday's announcement by Lufthansa that it will no longer transport
animals captured in the wild for commercial purposes, Mr. Wijnstekers
pointed out that the economies and rural communities of many developing
countries are highly dependent on natural resources, including wildlife.
trade in wild animals and plants represents a legitimate and vital
economic interest for developing countries," he said. "The
153 member governments of CITES have agreed to a strict set of rules
for ensuring that this trade is conducted in a way that does not
endanger the species involved and that gives poor communities an
economic stake in protecting the wildlife that they live with on
a daily basis."
Wijnstekers, a trend toward bans would undermine both animal welfare
and conservation efforts by pushing shipments onto second-tier airlines
and charters, where conditions may be worse and flight times longer.
When transport is conducted by quality commercial airlines, the
Live Animal Regulations set down by the International Air Transport
Association (IATA) specifying ventilation, space, packing, feeding
and other conditions minimize the animals' discomfort.
guidelines are not implemented or are proven to be insufficient,
IATA and CITES are required to take steps to improve the situation.
However, as studies in a number of European countries have shown,
air transport mortality rates are in fact low.
of dead and suffering animals that have been smuggled via airlines
or ships are distressing and shocking," said Mr. Wijnstekers.
"But this illegal trade should not be confused with the regulated
shipments that are now being barred from leading airlines."
CITES was adopted
in 1973 in response to concerns about the overexploitation of many
vulnerable species as a result of unregulated international trade.
The Convention gives producer and consumer countries joint responsibility
for managing wildlife sustainably and preventing illegal trade.
commercial international trade (and regulates non-commercial trade)
in plant and animal species that are threatened with extinction
and that are or may be affected by trade. These species are listed
in Appendix I, which includes the snow leopard, the tiger, and other
big cats; many rare primates such as the chimpanzee and the gorilla;
almost all large parrots; most crocodiles; all sea turtles; slipper
orchids and many cacti - in total about 800 species.
uses a system of permits to ensure that international trade is sustainable
for many species that are not threatened with extinction but could
become so if trade were not strictly regulated. These species are
listed in Appendix II, which includes all other big cats, primates,
cetaceans, parrots, crocodiles, cacti and orchids, plus several
carnivorous plants -in total about 30,000 species. To obtain the
necessary permits for export, it must be shown that trade is not
detrimental to the long-term survival of the species.
A third Appendix
includes species subject to regulation within a particular country
and for which the cooperation of other member countries is sought
to help regulate trade.
As trade impacts
and population levels change, animal or plant species can be added
to the CITES Appendices, deleted from them, or transferred from
one Appendix to another. These decisions are to be based on the
best biological information available and the likely effectiveness
of different types of regulation.
Note to journalists:
For more information, please contact Michael Williams at +41-22-917-8242,
+41-79-4091528 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org. See also the
CITES web site at www.cites.org