23 Oct 2017 Story Ecosystems

New plan to save Africa’s great carnivores

Plan to be submitted to this year’s largest wildlife summit, which is being held in Manila this week.

Two influential wildlife bodies are proposing to join forces on a new initiative to halt the serious decline of Africa’s great carnivores.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will submit their plan at the Convention on Migratory Species Conference of the Parties (CMS-COP12), which is taking place in Manila from 23-28 October.

“Time is running out for Africa’s iconic carnivores,” says Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS. “As sister organizations, CMS and CITES will seek to reap the synergies that exist to save the continent’s remaining big cats and wild dogs.”

The African Carnivores Initiative follows on from the CMS-CITES Joint Work Programme 2015-2020. If adopted, the initiative is intended to become a shared platform for the implementation of resolutions and decisions on lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs under both CMS and CITES. The two conventions would look to pool their resources and expertise in a drive to deliver concrete action and policy guidance in tandem with other organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


© Pixabay

John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, said: “Africa’s carnivores are among the most widely recognized and admired animals in the world. Today these charismatic predators are facing many and varied threats to their survival in the wild. However, this crisis can still be averted, and CITES and CMS, the world’s two international wildlife conventions, are joining forces to better respond to these threats, for the benefit of people and wildlife and in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

According to IUCN, the African lion, cheetah, leopard and wild dog are in constant – and sometimes severe – decline across the African continent, except for lions in Southern Africa, where there has been a slight increase.

Experts say that the historic ranges of lions have declined by 17 per cent, the cheetah by 9 per cent, the leopard by 51 per cent and the wild dog by 6 per cent across Africa.


© Pixabay

CMS-COP12 will be the largest wildlife summit this year, with over 500 delegates from more than 120 countries expected to attend. The triennial event will mark the first time that a CMS-COP will be held in Asia.

Topics for debate at the summit include:

  • A new intergovernmental task force to curb the illegal killing of birds crossing the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which spans 22 countries. Many millions of migratory birds, which travel along the Flyway twice yearly, will receive greater protection if the proposal is adopted.
  • A Conservation Roadmap for the critically endangered African Wild Ass, with fewer than 70 animals remaining in the wild.
  • A Vulture Multi-Species Action Plan to better protect 15 species of Old World Vulture in more than 120 countries.
  • CMS guidelines on assessing impacts of marine noise activities.

Read more in the COP 12 Newsroom.

For more information: Lisa Rolls Lisa.Rolls[at]unep.org

Media enquiries: unepnewsdesk[at]unep.org