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Animal trade to be discussed at conference

December 04, 2000

Animal trade to be discussed at conference



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - More than 150 representatives from at least 19 countries are expected to meet at a federal training center here Thursday to discuss how to control international trade of wild animals and plants.

The representatives are responsible for enforcing a treaty signed in 1973 in Washington, D.C., that controls international trade of protected species of animals and plants, said Pat Fisher, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The representatives, who will meet for eight days at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center, will review a wide range of issues, from the coral trade to the trade of Mexican cacti seed, Fisher said.

The treaty that controls international trade of protected species is known as the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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Every two years, representatives from countries who oversee the treaty meet to review trade activity of protected species, Fisher said.

Around the globe, habitat degradation and human encroachment are threatening ecosystems which protected animals and plants depend on to survive, Fisher said. When international trade of some protected species are factored in, the two circumstances can take a tremendous toll on the animal and plant populations, Fisher said.

Further complicating their existence is illegal trade of protected animals and plants, Fisher said.

"The illegal trade is very lucrative, and it's all over the place," Fisher said.

Representatives attending the conference will come from the United States, China, Iran, Russia, Spain, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Israel, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Norway, South Africa, Vietnam, countries of South and Central America and many of the former Soviet republics.

The representatives will discuss how live animals are transported, trade of animals used in traditional medicines, trade of turtles in Southeast Asia, shark trade, seahorse conservation, medicinal plant trade, orchid trade, the plight of wild sturgeon, caviar trade and artificial propagation of timber, according to Fisher.

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