Last week parties representing 130 nations gathered at the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) in Gandhinagar, India. Every three years, delegates meet to review proposals for listing imperiled migratory wildlife and to provide international or regional collaboration for species’ conservation.
The CMS COP13 this year focused on biodiversity around the globe and regional conservation efforts for migratory species, such as the jaguar in Latin America and the oceanic whitetip shark, whose ranges span around the world. Among the proposals adopted by the parties, a proposal to list the jaguar under Appendices I and II passed by consensus. This proposal, sponsored by Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, will provide protection for jaguar habitat connectivity throughout its entire range and will require concerted action for its survival
“We are thrilled that the parties and the region united to support jaguars for listing under Appendices I and II,” said Alejandra Goyenechea, senior international counsel for Defenders of Wildlife. “Protecting the Americas’ largest carnivore in its entire range is an important step toward preserving genetic diversity among the isolated jaguar populations, while enhancing biodiversity throughout Latin America.”
Jaguars live in forested areas across most of Latin America. They exist in more than 20 countries, with a range spanning from the southwestern U.S. to Argentina. In 2019 parties from the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) adopted a Resolution to identify the cat as a flag species for the region and to protect it through efforts aimed at curbing wildlife trafficking, one of the jaguar’s chief threats. The complementary efforts approved at CMS COP13 strengthen the measures adopted regionally, providing a solid foundation of conservation for this great cat.
A second proposal, for listing the oceanic whitetip shark under Appendix I, was presented by Brazil . This shark, which swims around the world, is most threatened by bycatch from fishing boats that target tuna and swordfish.
Both proposals were adopted by consensus at the Committee of the Whole on Thursday and confirmed during the plenary on Saturday. Appendix I listing include endangered migratory species and prohibit the take of the species; Appendix II requires parties to develop international agreements and cooperation to improve the conservation status of the species.
Other listing changes adopted at CMS included Appendix II listing for the smooth hammerhead shark and the tope shark.
“We are excited to see the progress that’s been made in recent months, and we applaud the participating nations for stepping up for migratory wildlife.” said Goyenechea. “Defenders of Wildlife will continue to advocate to forge ahead with essential follow-up measures that will conserve sharks and jaguars. It is vital that we commit to work together to conserve these species.”