Loris fact 4: CITES…a little lesson


CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a multilateral treaty that entered into force on 1 July 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it lists more than 33,000 species of animals and plants, including all species of Asian slow lorises.Those species that are threatened because of reasons other than trade do not necessarily feature on CITES.

Participation by countries or territories (Parties) is voluntary, and provides a framework to which parties adapt their own legislation. Rather than there being actual CITES laws, it is national laws that allow CITES to be implemented.  It is important to emphasise that CITES only concerns species traded internationally. If species are traded WITHIN a country, the country’s own laws must be implemented. CITES regulations only come into play when a species crosses a border into another country or territory.

In the case of slow lorises, all species and subspecies were included on CITES Appendix II since 1975.  This regulates all commercial trade, meaning that any trade in the species should not have any detrimental effect on wild populations. In 2007, all species were transferred to Appendix I banning all commercial trade.

Since 1975, all countries importing or exporting slow lorises that are Party to CITES submit reports of transactions annually to the CITES secretariat. These can be viewed on the CITES trade database. This means that if, for example, a slow loris breeder in Russia legally imported breeding stock for the pet trade, this would be included in the database.

What does this mean for YouTube lorises? Any citizen wondering if breeders claiming to have legally imported a viable breeding stock of lorises for captive breeding of loris pets can easily check the CITES trade database. In another loris fact, we will discuss the rarity of zoo animals moving to the private collection, and the very rare cases of captive births in general…where, then, I wonder, do most pet lorises come from?


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