By Kevin Heath
With 35,000 different species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) it can be difficult for wildlife traders and customers to ensure that they have the adequate documentation and certificates. Many exotic pet or plant owners may not even be aware of the need for certification of some species. THat [sic\ has all changed now with an easy to use web site that offer quick checking of species for any trade restrictions.
The new online tool offered by CITES allows for checking of species by scientific name, common names, index listing or country of origin of species. With a few taps on a keyboard you can find out what index the species is on if listed and the restrictions on trade for the species.
The site allows you to produce your own data list of species and download it for future reference. This is ideal for a pet trader or customer who wants to check on any listings for birds or reptiles for instance. The information can be downloaded in a number of formats which allows updating of databases to be undertaken quickly and easily.
The new system also gives a history of the species under CITES protections. A search for the peregrine falcon for instance shows it was added to CITES Appendix II on the 1st July 1975 and moved to Appendix I on 4th February 1977.
A number of enhancements to the Checklist are planned before the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in 2016. One of these enhancements will give CITES Management Authorities the possibility to ‘pull’ the names of species and the Appendices they are included in directly into a CITES electronic permit or certificate. This function will greatly assist in the reduction of errors, thereby making trade easier to monitor and trace.
CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon, in his comments during the launch of the Checklist, stated: “This new database-driven Checklist of CITES species will enable CITES Parties to better ensure legal and sustainable trade in wildlife. When used with other information systems, users can create new tools that will offer better insights on how to conserve CITES species and use them sustainably .”
This database-driven Checklist was developed for CITES by UNEP-WCMC using data from the CITES species database. The Secretariat is working with UNEP-WCMC on other cutting-edge information tools that will make use of data from the Checklist. CITES Checklist.