At a European Union (EU) meeting held Sept. 18, 2017, the Czech Republic opened discussions on whether the EU should propose to list the giraffe under the Convention on International Trade in Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The suggestion is said to be prompted by the recent decision by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to classify the giraffe as “vulnerable” under its Red List. If agreed by the EU Member States, such a proposal would be made to the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to CITES, scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in 2019. CITES procedures allow any country, even one that is not and never has been home to a particular species such as the giraffe, to make proposals for the listing of that species.
The giraffe appears to be the latest African species to draw the attention of EU anti-hunting groups. Giraffes are also one of three game species being considered for classification as “migratory” at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) 12th Conference of the Parties in Manila, Philippines at the end of October. The CMS defines “migratory” as “any species or lower taxon of wild animals, in which a significant proportion of the members of the entire population or any geographically separate part of the population cyclically and predictably crosses one or more national jurisdictional boundaries.” A migratory classification would give the CMS jurisdiction to make trade recommendations for the species. SCI and the SCI Foundation will both send representatives to the CMS CoP to work with other sustainable use groups to defend against such classification for giraffes and other hunted species.
Both in CITES and CMS decision-making, SCI and the SCI Foundation will insist that any proposal to bring a species, such as the giraffe, within the remits of CITES’ and/or CMS’ control systems, be based purely on strict scientific and legal criteria – and not anti-hunting emotions. Importantly, SCI and SCIF will emphasize that any discussion on the matter must take due account of the crucial contribution of international hunting to the species conservation and local livelihoods.