THE ROLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC AUTHORITY IN CITES: HOT DEBATES
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
The international trade in wildlife is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is implemented in South Africa in terms of the CITES Regulations (published in 2010).Species are listed in three appendices, Appendix I species being all species threatened with extinction which are or may be affected by trade, Appendix II species being those that may become threatened with extinction unless trade is subject to strict regulation and Appendix III species which are voluntarily listed by the countries of origin.Trade in Appendix I species for commercial purposes is prohibited, while the export and import of Appendix II specimens, which includes artificially propagated or captive bred specimens of Appendix I species, requires the prior grant and presentation of an export permit both in the countries of export and import.An export permit may only be granted if a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species.Two non-detriment findings completed by South Africa’s Scientific Authority in accordance with the CITES checklist on making non-detriment findings will be presented, one for Ceratotherium simum subsp. simum (white rhinoceros) and another for Encephalartos aemulans, a Critically Endangered cycad located on a single hill in KwaZulu-Natal.Despite the continuing poaching of rhino for their horn, the non-detriment finding for the white rhinoceros demonstrates that international trade poses a low risk to this species in South Africa, whereas the Scientific Authority was unable to make a positive finding for E. aemulans and found that the species is at a very high risk of unsustainable use.Key areas of weakness in the management, conservation and protection of E. aemulans were identified.
MAKING NON-DETRIMENT FINDINGS: ENSURING SUSTAINABLE UTILIZATION OF SPECIES IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
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