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EU accession to CITES will boost effort to protect endangered species

Welcoming today’s European Parliament vote in favour of EU accession to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Plants and Animals (CITES), Irish GUE/NGL MEP Lynn Boylan said “the EU cannot be found wanting in its actions and it cannot allow species like the African elephant and rhino to be consigned to the history books”.

“22,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory in 2012 alone. 95% of the world’s rhinos have been wiped out in the last forty years, and let us also not forget all the other less well‑known species that are illegally traded on a daily basis. The impact that losses like these have on ecosystems is catastrophic.”

“The EU and member states must, of course, comply with obligations under this Convention, but it is one thing to ban or limit trade and it is another to effectively enforce it. One cannot ignore the fact that the vast majority of this illegal trade is carried out in the developing world in conflict zones. The EU, of course, should support these countries where they lack equipment and funds for enforcement, but we must also look at the bigger picture. If annual turnover for the illegal trade is estimated to be USD 19 billion – making it the fourth‑largest illegal trade in the world – the extreme poverty of many African communities lends itself to this trade. When the tusks of a single adult elephant are worth more than ten times the average annual income in many of these countries, is it any wonder that impoverished people resort to wildlife trade?” she asked in conclusion.

 

GUE/NGL Press:

David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08