chapter  8
30 Pages

Introduction

Although wildlife products have been traded for hundreds of years, the twentieth century witnessed a growing realisation that some species were being exploited to such an extent that their very survival was being put in danger. Fashion placed at risk populations of snow leopards and crocodilians; traditional medicine in Asia, the populations of rhino and bears. This exploitation went beyond purely domestic consumption. The demands and interests of people living far from the ranges of species were driving this cross-border trade. Whilst this led to the possibility of substantial export revenue generation, it could also drive unsustainable practices. It therefore became increasingly recognised that species could be faced with global or local extinction in the absence of cooperation between range states and importing nations. Thus, in 1963 the General Assembly of IUCN called for ‘an international convention on regulations of export, transit and import of rare or threatened wildlife species or their skins and trophies’.1 The result of this call was the negotiation and adoption of the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna (CITES).2