By Donn Bobb
A partnership to ensure that trade in python skin is more sustainable was announced in Geneva on Friday.
It involves the International Trade Centre (ITC), French luxury and retail firm Kering and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Alex Kasterine, the head of the ITC's Trade and Environment Unit says the Python Conservation Partnership has been developed to improve the livelihood benefit of python skin exports from Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Thailand.
According to Mr. Kasterine in this partnership the ICT will focus on understanding the impacts of the python trade on local livelihoods.
"We don't know exactly how many people it employs but it runs into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. These are people living in marginal areas on the edges of forests and who are among the very lowest income groups in Southeast Asia. So we want to understand more about how biodiversity can contribute to these livelihoods. The other partners will take the lead on four areas: monitoring wild capture to improve sustainable sourcing, differentiating between captive bred and wild animals with the use of innovative technology and developing and promoting the highest standards of animal health and welfare and exploring ways to improve captive breeding." (35")
According to the ITC, international trade in Southeast Asian python skin business is worth around $1 billion a year.
It says a substantial part of that figure is in illegal trade due to smuggling and the abuse of the permit system under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Audiofile.