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October 27, 2017

Urgent conservation actions agreed to protect lions, leopards, giraffes, chimpanzees, sharks and other key species

African and marine species likely to gain critical international treaty protections with overwhelming support

Humane Society International

  • Leopard. Bernd Zoller

Lions, leopards, giraffes, chimpanzees, sharks and other key species have received overwhelming support for critical international treaty level protections at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, this year's largest and most important conservation meeting.

African migratory species as well as marine wildlife have experienced dramatic declines in recent years. The Convention will now be able to facilitate the development of international conservation strategies, offer greater financial and institutional support, and increase exchange of best practices among the countries where these animals live. These listings are a culmination of years of joint effort by Humane Society International and partner organisations.

Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist for HSI, said “This has been a tremendously exciting meeting. Several mammal species facing major threats in the wild will be benefiting and Humane Society International is thrilled to be a part of it. We are pleased with the decision to list the lion, leopard, giraffe and chimpanzee as among the animals to gain these new protections. The listings signal that the international community is poised for strong, concerted action to protect them.”

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Mark Simmonds, senior marine scientist for HSI, added “We are pleased that a series of marine proposals have also been approved, including the proposals to protect the whale shark and other shark species as well as little known species such as the white spotted wedge fish and the Caspian seal that are important to their ecosystems but highly endangered. This is a real game changer.” 

The meeting tackled a series of proposals aimed at responding to urgent conservation issues; most have proposed to list species to the Convention’s appendices; others addressed particular threats such as marine plastic pollution and climate change. The parties meet every three years to foster international cooperation for species with an endangered or unfavourable conservation status. This is the first time in the history of the Convention that parties have considered whether to list a large number of African mammals such as the lion, chimpanzee, leopard and giraffe.

HSI has been taking part in the discussions between delegates and NGOs at the meeting by offering advice, information and encouragement to the countries here in support of the proposals for these and other animals.

Media contacts:
US: Raul Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org
UK: Harriet Barclay, HBarclay@HSI.org

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