Giraffes ©

Giraffes ©


Published 3 June 2017


Unsustainable use a key threat to many species proposed for CMS listing

Bonn, Germany, 3rd June 2017—This week, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), released the names of the 35 species proposed for protection measures through inclusion in one of the two Appendices under the Convention. 

The CMS is an environmental treaty under the aegis of UN Environment that provides a legal framework platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. Listing of species on Appendix I of the treaty affords them full protection, while a listing on Appendix II means countries over whose borders they cross should create appropriate management strategies.

Among the species to be considered for listing are several affected by trade-related threats such as five species of sharks, including two of significant commercial interest: Blue Shark and the Dusky Shark. Management measures for the former are largely lacking despite the capture of perhaps 20 million individuals each year. Aquatic mammals feature too, with a proposal to list the Caspian Seal, a species whose population has been vastly reduced through unsustainable hunting and more recently as bycatch, primarily in illegal sturgeon fisheries. 

A number of listing proposals are for birds, including the (Japanese) Yellow Bunting, a species at risk from, among other threats, unsustainable hunting and trapping for the bird trade, and ten species of Old World vultures. Asian vulture species have been decimated by use of Diclofenac, a veterinary drug that is toxic to the birds, while vultures in Africa have been impacted both through deliberate capture for use in traditional medicine and through poisoning—often to prevent enforcement authorities being alerted to large mammal poaching events as birds circle above a carcass. 

Terrestrial mammals proposed include the Giraffe, Lion and Leopard, all subject to levels of illegal hunting, while Chimpanzees are often illegally killed for their meat. 

According to Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS: “…the Convention is well placed to co-ordinate conservation measures for migratory animals and their habitats across the globe…We depend on these species for livelihoods and food security and this is why our future as humankind is intrinsically linked to their survival.”

The listing proposals will be discussed during the forthcoming 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP12) to the CMS, scheduled to take place from 23rd–28th October in Manila, Philippines. 

An overview of the listing proposals for the 13 mammal, 16 bird and 6 fish species is available on the CMS website.