CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments aimed at ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their long-term survival in the wild.
Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and includes hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high. Trade in these species - together with other factors such as habitat loss - is capable of depleting their populations and bringing some species close to extinction. Many traded wildlife species are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important to safeguard these resources for the future.
Green gecko (Naultinus elegans,
CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975 and New Zealand became a Party in 1989. There are 175 Parties signed up to the Convention making it one of the largest conservation agreements in existence.
CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. Over 30,000 species are covered by CITES. The controls require that all imports and exports of species covered by the Convention are authorised through a permit.
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