Talking wildlife in Tel Aviv

This week I am attending the Animals Committee (AC) of CITES hosted by the Government of Israel and taking place in Tel Aviv. The AC is set up to:

to fill gaps in biological and other specialized knowledge regarding species of animals and plants that are (or might become) subject to CITES trade controls. Their role is to provide technical support to decision-making about these species.

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ITC is hold consultations with CITES Parties with whom we work providing economic analyses and capacity building. We are also involved in two side events. The first took place today in which we introduced a study that we will undertake next month entitled “Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) – measuring consumer preferences for animal and plant products”.

ITC staff Alex Kasterine and Martina Bozzola and Mr Vuong Mahn from the Viet Nam CITES Management Authority after side event.

ITC staff Alex Kasterine and Martina Bozzola and Mr Vuong Mahn from the Viet Nam CITES Management Authority after side event.

The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Viet Nam Management Authority of CITES and the South African Management Authority CITES. The study’s aim is to measure consumer preferences for wildlife products used in TAM. Thereis a need to understand more how consumers respond to different trade policies (legal vs illegal), management regimes (captive breeding vs wild harvest) and to ethical issues (stigmas). The findings of the study will inform policy makers to make more informed, scientific based decisions on policies in which consumer demand is an important factor.

Whilst the side event faced competition for a delicious lunch laid on by the hosts, 20 people attended and showed strong interest.

Useful feedback was received. One comment was whether the study would inform how strong were cultural beliefs attached to wildlife consumption and whether these could be changed within the short time frame needed to save some species, e.g. rhino from likely extinction under the current trends and policy scenario. Another delegate attending, asked in a related questions, if a traditional medicine using endangered species could be substituted with Western type medicines.

On Tuesday, we take part in a side event with IUCN and Kering on improving sustainability in the python skin value chain.

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