EU faces CITES sanctions over trade in rare parrots
Foundation Franz Weber


UN body also steps up efforts to shut down domestic ivory markets

Monday 6 November – The European Union’s extensive trade in rare captive-bred species will be under scrutiny as the CITES Standing Committee opens its 77th meeting today in Geneva.    

The committee will consider a report which concludes that the EU is not complying with CITES regulations for operations that breed animal species in captivity. This is the first time that the EU has been the subject of a non-compliance case under the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

More than 47,000 captive-bred specimens of endangered species, mostly birds such as parrots and macaws, were exported and re-exported from the EU for commercial purposes between 2011 and 2020.

The EU currently does not require its Member States to register breeding operations for Appendix I species – the highest level of CITES protection.

“Registering breeding facilities, proving that founder stock is legally acquired, and identifying commercial transactions are the most basic CITES requirements, and the EU needs to urgently address them,” says Daniela Freyer, co-founder of the German conservation organization Pro Wildlife.

The Standing Committee will also consider an analysis of ivory seizures since 2019 connected to countries with a legal domestic ivory market.

Since CITES directed countries with ivory markets contributing to poaching or illegal trade in 2016 to close those markets, most countries have complied.  Japan remains the most significant remaining open ivory market.

In 2019 CITES asked countries that had not closed their markets to report on the measures they are taking to ensure that they are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade, and Document 63.1 analyzes that data.

“Any criteria to define the countries to be analyzed as having legal domestic ivory markets should not exclude Japan,” says Masayuki Sakamoto, executive director of the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund.

The agenda for the meeting which runs 6-10 November contains 77 items addressing global wildlife trade issues including iconic species such as big cats, jaguars, vaquitas, rhinos, elephants and tropical birds, along with marine species and high value timber.  The meeting will be streamed live on the CITES YouTube Channel.

Our experts are available for background and interviews.  CONTACT: Don Lehr / / mobile: +1.917.304.4058

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Pro Wildlife (PW), based in Munich, Germany, is committed to protecting wildlife and works to ensure the survival of species in their habitat, as well as the protection of individual animals.  This includes advocacy, strengthening national and international regulations, ensuring their implementation, and funding vital conservation projects.

Fondation Franz Weber (FFW), based in Bern, Switzerland, has been campaigning for the survival of the African elephant and the complete ban of the trade in ivory for 40 years. FFW has had observer status at CITES since 1989 and has been a partner of the African Elephant Coalition since its creation in 2008.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) based in the UK, is a wildlife conservation charity founded in 1984 by wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd (1931-2017) to help save endangered wildlife.  DSWF works to fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species, and engage local communities to protect their native wildlife and associated habitats across Asia and Africa.