Delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have taken the significant step of voting to protect two manta ray and five shark species at the 16th Conference of the Parties in Bangkok, Thailand this past week. Sharks have been heavily targeted for their fins and mantas for their gills, despite the species’ proven value to ocean ecosystem health and to global ecotourism.
WildAid and NBA Cares, the National Basketball Association's (NBA) global social responsibility program, have announced another step in their partnership promoting wildlife conservation in the United States and aimed at reducing the illegal trade of wildlife products in China.
WildAid’s campaign to reduce use of shark fin is making a huge impact in Asia by decreasing the demand for and the import-export business of shark fin. According to the South China Morning Post, the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong reported that shark fin imports have reduced from 10,292 tons to 3,087 tons from 2011 to November 2012; over a 70% decline.
Threatening the security and prosperity of wildlife and people around the world, the illegal wildlife trade has been raising serious concerns among the U.S. State Department, who last month revealed their plan to combat wildlife trafficking in a partnership meeting led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Recently protected as a migratory species under Australian law, international communities are picking up momentum to stem the rapid decline of giant manta rays, whose global numbers have dropped by 30%.