Applications for protection are on the table for sharks, glass frogs and hippos, as well as for elephants and orchids:

On Monday (local time) in Panama, representatives of 184 countries, often with opposing interests, started the Cites species protection conference, which aims to protect wild species from being overexploited by international trade.

At the opening, a call was made to involve local communities, young people and women more in the effort. In addition, the burden of financing should not be left solely to the countries in which the wild species live, said Cites Secretary General Ivonne Higuero. The debates on the protection of marine animals are scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Higuero: Local costs, global benefits

“The benefits of wildlife conservation are global, but the costs are borne locally,” Higuero said. You have to act innovatively and open up new sources of financing, including private ones. There is a lot at stake at the conference – and not only for future generations, but also in the months and years to come. According to Higuero, overexploitation and illegal trade affect ecosystems and biodiversity.

More than 2500 delegates, experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations attend the meeting until November 25th. Cites is a convention signed in Washington in 1973 to ensure sustainable trade in wild animals and plants. The contracting states meet every three years. In Panama, 52 proposals for better protection of 600 wild species are to be discussed.

Gerigk: “Peak of the species crisis”

“The Cites conference starts at the peak of the species crisis. Since 1970, the populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles observed have declined by an average of 69 percent,” said Rebecca Gerigk, spokeswoman for WWF Germany in Panama. “That’s why we urgently need decisions at the conference on how to better protect species from overexploitation.” The implementation of trade regulations must also be improved.

Daniela Freyer, who is taking part in the Cites conference for the animal protection organization Pro Wildlife, is confident that good results can be achieved in Panama: “I definitely think there will be progress because most of the issues that are being discussed are being discussed , it’s about better protection of species.”

Trade in 38,000 species including their products is already banned or strictly regulated under Cites. However, many wild species continue to be traded illegally, including for the manufacture of ivory carvings, supposed delicacies made from shark fins, medicines made from ground rhino horn and tiger skin carpets.