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Asian otters gain protection from the pet trade

06 / 09 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to place the smooth-coated otter and the Asian small-clawed otter on the list of animals with the highest level of protection from the wildlife trade. The recent CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in Geneva, Switzerland considered many proposals and issued new protections for numerous species including giraffes, sharks and rays, and many more. CITES does not determine the risk of extinction of species, which is the domain of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its Red List of Threatened Species, but rather CITES’ role is to ensure that international trade in wild animals does not threaten their survival in the wild. Conservationists insisted a trade ban was vital for the survival of the two species, whose numbers in the wild have fallen by at least 30% in the past 30 years. When asked how important the actions are, Paul Todd, Senior Attorney for the Nature Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told Mongabay, “The Appendix I listings for small-clawed and smooth coated otters were a vital step in reversing the decline of these species throughout their range. The range countries will have to take added measures to reduce poaching and enforce against illegal trade in the species, and the listing sends the right signals to the marketplace that these species are in trouble and are not available for use as pets or for other reasons.” A formerly wild otter in a Tokyo café bites its…

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