Target: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Goal: Don’t reject the addition of 76 endangered species to trade agreement that would offer them protections
Canada has rejected the addition of 76 endangered species to an international trade agreement that would help ensure their continued survival. Recently released documents show that at the latest meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Canada filed “reservations” on a staggering 76 of the 77 proposed extensions to the treaty. Animals on the list include manatees, manta rays and soft-shelled turtles.
This is an unprecedented move in the history of the trade agreement. The runner-up for total reservations spanning of the entire 39-year history of CITES is Iceland with 22, followed by Japan with 19 and the United Kingdom with 7.
CITES is an international treaty created to ensure that trade in certain animal and plant species does not threaten their existence in the wild. It currently contains protections for more than 35,000 species, to varying degrees. As of 2014, 180 countries have ratified the treaty. The most recent convention was held in Bangkok in March 2013.
Danny Kingsberry, spokesperson for Environment Canada, said the reservations were filed in order to allow the government time to amend the current regulations. However, the usual 90-day grace period has long since passed, and coming up on two years since the convention there is still no sign of new regulations being formulated. Canada is also in an ongoing fight with CITES over the restriction of trade in polar bear parts, which Canada is actively resisting.
Trade agreements like CITES are endangered species’ best chance of survival in a worldwide profit-driven economy that can blindly ignore their dwindling numbers. Sign the petition below and insist that Canada agrees to the protection of these plants and animals.
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Commitment to the protection of endangered species is a responsibility that all nations must maintain in the face of a globalized market that threatens their survival. To do any less is to disrespect the precious biodiversity of the world we live in, and to disregard the imperative and increasingly urgent task of preserving it.
Canada’s refusal to participate in the addition of 76 endangered species to the CITES protection list is an affront to the worldwide awareness of this need and the international cooperation that has arisen as a result of it. There are motions on the table to safeguard the survival of these plants and animals, and 180 other countries are ready to commit to protecting them.
I am urging you to join the rest of the world and remove Canada’s reservations to the extension of CITES to include the 76 newly proposed endangered species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ramos Keith via Wikimedia Commons