The Winners And Losers At This Year's Global Wildlife Summit

Elephants had a mixed lot this year. zahorec/Shutterstock

Josh Davis 06 Oct 2016, 15:15

The historic Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) summit is now drawing to an end.

It aimed to tackle the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade, increasing the protection for certain plants and animals. But while some species have been given higher protection, other attempts failed.

Let’s have a look at a few of the most high profile species discussed, and their fates.


It was good news for the most trafficked mammal in the world, as all eight species of pangolin were finally afforded the highest level of protection, moving them all into Appendix I. This means that all trade in the scaly anteaters is now illegal, hopefully giving the poor fellas a bit of a respite.

Their numbers across much of Asia have dramatically crashed, as they are hunted for not only their meat but their scales too, which are used in traditional medicine. The populations have been devastated so badly in this part of the world that poachers have now turned their attention to Africa.


Elephants had a bit of a mixed bag at the summit.

While it was finally agreed to close the domestic markets in ivory, there has a been a big split among those nations who want to increase protections further, and those that want to loosen them.

This rift meant that while a proposal to allow countries to sell off their confiscated ivory stockpiles was shut down, so was another that tried to get all populations placed on Appendix I and thus extending full protection to all wild elephants. This division is looking unlikely to go away anytime soon.

African lions

The African lion was one of the losers this year, as an attempt to make all trade in the animals illegal was defeated.

South Africa is known to ship the bones of lions to Asia, where they are used as a replacement for tiger bones to make wine, as the Asian cat has become rarer and rarer. Between 2008 and 2011 alone it is estimated that at least 11 tonnes (12 US tons) of lion bones, accounting for 1,200 skeletons, were legally exported out of South Africa.

It is thought that this trade helps to encourage that of the tigers, but it seems nothing will change anytime soon.

Not quite what we were hoping for, lions will still be legal to trade. Guido Amrein Switzerland/Shutterstock

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