Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Wildlife Protection, International Conventions


  • The Eighteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of CITES was recently held in Geneva.

Highlights of CoP18

  • India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of star tortoises (Geochelone elegans), the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and small-clawed otters (Anoyx cinereus) in CITES have been approved.
  • These species have been listed under Appendix I of CITES and will now enjoy the highest degree of protection.
  • Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) will be included in CITES Appendix II.

Why listing species under Appendix I?

  • Appendix I of CITES lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
  • They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.


  • 90% of trade of Star tortoises occurs as part of the international pet market.
  • Star tortoise is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ by IUCN and a decline greater than 30% was predicted by 2025 if the exploitation continued or expanded.
  • Small-clawed otter and smooth-coated otter are traded for their fur in the international market and their numbers are declining due to habitat loss.
  • Tokay geckos are sold in the open in some south Asian countries and its inclusion in CITES Appendix II will bring some restriction on the sale.

What is CITES?

  • It is an international agreement to which States and regional economic integration organizations adhere voluntarily.
  • Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP and is located Geneva at, Switzerland.
  • It is also known as Washington Convention.


CITES classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices,based on level of threats faced by them.

Appendix I species:  It lists species that are in danger of extinction. It prohibits commercial trade of these plants and animals except in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.

Appendix II species:  They are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted. Their trade is regulated by permit.

Appendix III species:  They are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member states and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

[Sources: The Hindu, Indian Express]

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Talent KAS

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