By Lekha Shankar
The historic Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference held in Bangkok recently was attended by over 2,000 members from 178 countries. The delegates passed new rules for international trade in wildlife and plant species. Among them was Will Travers, president of the Species Survival Network (SSN), a coalition of nearly 100 organisations committed to the strict enforcement of the CITES resolutions.
Travers is also the CEO of the Born Free Foundation, the global animal advocacy organisation, named after the famous film made by his parents Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers in 1966. Travers was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2012 for Services to Conservation and Animal Welfare. Excerpts from an interview:
How important is the CITES Conference for worldwide trade in wildlife?
Without doubt, this is the most important global meeting for wildlife trade. The decisions made are internationally binding and determine how the trade in wild species of animals and plants will be conducted in the next three years.
How does the Asian region figure in the wildlife trade?
Sadly, Southeast Asia and the Far East are heavily involved in illegal trade. Ivory trade is a big problem in Thailand. Africa is a leading source of ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife items. And China is a leading ‘consumer’ market. Due to the crisis in tiger numbers, lion body parts are being used in China for traditional medicines. Consequently, lion numbers have fallen by 50 per cent. More....