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Op-Ed: Can CITES cope with the illegal wildlife trade?

Adam Cruise

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is increasingly expected to control the estimated $19-billion illegal trade in endangered plants and animals. However, a recent paper for the South African Institute for International Affairs think tank notes that CITES is a treaty among nations, established to regulate legal trade, and is neither self-executing nor legally binding.

The success of CITES relies on its implementation by its signatories and is badly needed at a time of unprecedented legal and illegal trade, both in terms of volume and scope. 

According to Katarzyna Nowak, a Research Associate in Zoology and Entomology at the University of the Free State and Science Policy Fellow at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the recent and rapid escalation in wildlife crime is not something CITES was necessarily designed to handle in its current form.

The article's full-text is available here.

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