New commitments for the conservation of migratory species

Internationally coordinated conservation measures for the world’s migratory species will be discussed next week at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). The IUCN Delegation, including participants from the Regional Office for South America and experts from the Species Survival Commission (SSC), will provide technical advice to Parties on the submitted proposals.

Endangered west African lion

A total of 32 species have been newly proposed for listing on Appendix I, which requires strict protection, and/or on Appendix II, which requires coordinated management by the countries in which the species migrate. The total list includes three terrestrial mammals, two marine mammals, five birds and 22 fishes.

Among the listing proposals are several shark and ray species including all three species of Thresher Sharks, the Endangered and Critically Endangered Sawfishes, the Endangered Scalloped Hammerhead and Great Hammerhead, and the Silky Shark. The Vulnerable Reef Manta Ray is also proposed for listing along with the nine Mobula ray species, which are all threatened by fisheries and the emerging international market for their dried gill rakers.

“It’s bad enough that one quarter of the world’s shark and ray species are threatened with extinction, primarily by unregulated and unreported overfishing, but the plight of migratory sharks and rays is even worse, with almost half of all migratory species threatened,” says Sarah Fowler, Vice-Chair of the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group.
“Until now, no Endangered or Critically Endangered migratory shark species have been included in the CMS Appendices, and no members of the seven shark families that are at greatest risk (including sawfishes and thresher sharks) have been listed. The Parties to CMS will have the opportunity to redress this imbalance and promote management through CMS to complement action by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.”

The Polar Bear, African Lion, and European Eel are proposed for listing on Appendix II. Polar Bears are under pressure from the effects of climate change, African Lion numbers have dropped by 30 percent over the last two decades, and the European Eel has suffered declines due to overfishing and dams which obstruct migratory pathways.

The global population of the Great Bustard, one of the heaviest flying birds of the world, has been proposed for Appendix I. The range of the Great Bustard once stretched across the grassland and agricultural zones of Eurasia and Northern Africa, from Manchuria to Portugal and Morocco. Their range is now highly fragmented, and in many countries only a handful of dwindling breeding or wintering populations remain. These birds face a variety of threats, including collisions with overhead cabling, illegal hunting, destruction of eggs and chicks by agricultural machinery, and habitat conversion.

“The proposal to list the entire global population of Great Bustards on Appendix I will secure additional protection for severely threatened populations in signatory states throughout Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa,” says Mimi Kessler, member of the IUCN SSC Bustard Specialist Group.
“We hope that the global listing of this species will also attract the attention of non-signatory states which host important populations and facilitate coordination of conservation measures”.

Other issues to be discussed at the meeting include the illegal hunting of elephants, climate change, marine debris, the effects of renewable energy installations on migratory species, and illegal bird trapping.

CMS COP11 will convene in Quito, Ecuador from 4-9 November 2014.

For more information, please contact Arturo Mora

Work area: 
Global Policy
Red List
Marine species
South America
South America
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