Major decisions were made at the CITES CoP18 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. We are pleased to see action taken on 18 species of sharks and rays, on giraffes, and many more. We've got all the details.

*Journalists: If you're looking for more information on CoP18, you can always call or text us at +1 (347) 840-1242 or email

What's at stake?

Global wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar a year industry impacting so many species around the world. It is regulated through an international treaty known as CITES.

Press Releases

Photo Credit: ©Steve De Neef

Total Sweep for Sharks & Rays!

"An historic number of countries today put teeth into efforts to prevent the extinction of 18 species of sharks and rays," said WCS's Luke Warwick.

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Concluding Statements

“We celebrate the successes and strong decisions at CITES CoP18: species received needed trade protections," said WCS's Sue Lieberman. But it's bittersweet, she adds, because they are needed.

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Status Quo for Elephants

And that is what needed to happen, says WCS's Sue Lieberman. No international ivory trade is permitted and a call for governments to close domestic markets has been issued.


Good News for Giraffes at CITES CoP18

All 9 subspecies have been given protections. "The giraffe’s future is on the line but we are optimistic for this iconic African species as it becomes listed on Appendix II," said WCS's Liz Bennett.

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New Hope For the Prehistoric Saiga Antelope

A CITES committee has voted to keep saiga on Appendix II but now with a zero quota, helping to ensure that international commercial trade will not contribute to further declines of the species.

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A Commitment to Halt Rosewood Trafficking

This "has threatened the unique and highly valuable biodiversity of Madagascar’s forests and has undermined governance within the country for far too long," said WCS's Janice Weatherley-Singh.


Efforts to Reduce Trade in Helmeted Hornbill

"WCS appreciates the attention of the CITES parties to the crisis facing the helmeted hornbill," said WCS's Sue Lieberman, "and the actions that range states and consumer states have taken to combat the trafficking in this species."

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Key Species Up for Consideration

Over 50 species proposals are being discussed at the CoP18 meeting. Here are some of the decisions you can keep an eye on.


Transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I
Click to read our fact sheet.

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Mako sharks

Isurus oxyrinchus and Isurus paucus
Include both species in Appendix II

Glass Frogs

Hyalinobatrachium spp., Centrolene spp., Cochranella spp., and Sachatamia spp.
Include all species in Appendix II


Giraffa camelopardalis
Include in Appendix II

Asian Otters

Aonyx cinereus, Lutrogale perspicillata
Transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I

Pancake Tortoise

Malacochersus tornieri
Transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I

Guitarfish and Wedgefish

Rhinidae spp., Glaucostegidae spp.
Include in Appendix II

Indian star tortoise

Geochelone elegans
Transfer from Appendix II to Appendix I

African Elephant

Loxodonta africana
Transfer Zambia population to Appendix II. Amend App. II annotation for populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

WCS Documents

Our positions on species proposals and working documents under consideration at the meeting.


What is CITES and why is it important for conservation? Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President for International Policy, is a CITES and wildlife trade expert.

Sharks and rays are one of the most endangered groups on the planet. Eighteen species are up for protections at CoP18. We spoke with WCS's Luke Warwick, Associate Director for Sharks & Rays.

Related News

Otter cafes?

By Liz Bennett
Steps to protect two increasingly rare species this week are an important reminder that treating otters as pets harms the iconic animals in the wild.

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A Worrying Trade in Mammoth

By Undark
Fears that the tusks are being peddled as elephant ivory have some experts seeking protections for the extinct animal, too. Not everyone agrees.

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Monitoring Vicuna Health is Also Important

By Yovana Murillo
This is because of the rise of a deadly skin disease called Mange.

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Fastest Shark May Get Protections

By Huffington Post
"Momentum is building to ensure that these species continue to be around for future generations,” said WCS's Luke Warwick.

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Victory for Sharks & Rays

By Forbes
"A wide range of member governments realize the need for CITES to regulate the global trade," said WCS's Luke Warwick.

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Last Chance to Save 'Rhinos of Ocean'

"With the new science, fresh in everyone's minds, on these wedgefish and guitarfish, it's clearly last chance saloon for them," said WCS's Luke Warwick.

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Wildlife Summit Votes to Protect Giraffes

By The New York Post
"The Wildlife Conservation Society said it was concerned about threats including drought, illegal killings and trade in giraffe body parts."

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Attempts to Reopen Ivory Trade Fail

By The Independent
The latest decision means "no international commercial ivory trade is permitted and that is what needs to happen,” said Sue Lieberman,

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Giraffes Get New Protections, But Will It Be Enough?

By The New York Times
International trade will now be regulated, but habitat loss and bushmeat poaching remain threats.

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Bid to Allow Ivory Stockpile Sale Rejected

By Mongabay
"All ivory trade must end if the African elephant is to recover," said WCS's Sue Lieberman.

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Glass Frogs Under Threat in Latin America

By Adrian Reuter
A COP 18 proposal aims to include these frogs in Appendix II.

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Silent Extinction: Summit Agrees to Giraffe Protections

By The Guardian
“We are now optimistic," said WCS's Elizabeth Bennett.

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Summit Hears Urgent Steps Needed for Species

By The Guardian
Songbirds may be silenced if we don’t take action now on their behalf, WCS's Madhu Rao argues.

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South Africa Gets Ok on Rhino Hunting

By The Guardian
"WCS remains concerned about the impact," said WCS's Elizabeth Bennett.

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What’s Conservation Got To Do With It?

By Susan Lieberman
At CITES gets underway, the many species whose very future on the planet will be debated.

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From tusks to tails

By The Associated Press
Listing more shark species is one of several measures needed, says WCS's Luke Warwick.

Saving the Saiga

By Susan Lieberman
A series of drastic declines in the late 20th century took a toll on the species.

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A Crisis at Sea

By Luke Warwick
Proposals have been submitted to list a record 18 species of sharks and rays on Appendix II of CITES.

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Standing Up

By Luke Warwick
Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Mexico are sponsoring overlooked sharks.

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A Celebration of Conservation Progress

By Luke Warwick
WCS partnered with the Maldives Mission to the UN to raise the profile of shark conservation.

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For Media

  • You can read our cheat sheet about CoP18.
  • Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President of International Policy and a CITES and wildlife trade expert, is available for comment/interview during the meeting.

    Interviews can also be arranged through Mary Dixon, WCS Senior Vice President of Communications:; or text through WhatsApp: +1 (347) 840-1242.

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