Wildlife trade conference debates rules for elephants, mammoths

GENEVA, International trade restrictions for elephants, spiders as well as extinct mammoths are to be discussed at an international conference that starts Saturday in Geneva.

The meeting brings together the 183 countries that have signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,CITES, a 1973 pact that places curbs and bans on the cross-border sale of some 5,000 animal and 30,000 plant species, German news agency, DPA, reported on Saturday.

Several countries in southern Africa back proposals to loosen restrictions with elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns, arguing these animal populations have become large enough to warrant such rule changes. However, conservation activists have warned that such steps would encourage poachers.

During the conference that runs until August 28, delegates will also mull a proposal to regulate the sale of mammoth tusks, as such trade is seen as a booster for business with ivory from living elephants.

In addition, stricter rules for giraffes and for popular exotic pets such as tarantulas and lizards are also on the agenda, said the DPA report.

Source: Emirates News Agency