500 species get new protections under CITES

The endangered vaquita received new protections at the CITES conference in Panama. Credit: Paula Olson/NOAA

Participants in an international conference on wildlife trade agreed to new protections for more than 500 species of animals and plants. The new species listed by the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, include 160 amphibians, 50 turtles and tortoises and several species of songbirds, all of which have experienced population declines in recent years.

The World Wildlife Conference in Panama also ended in an agreement to limit fishing that threatens the endangered vaquita (Phocoena sinus) dolphin in Mexico. For the first time, member countries adopted a resolution to address gender inequality as it relates to wildlife trade, and they agreed to increase the number of languages used in future meetings, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, to make them more accessible to more countries.

CITES parties include 183 countries and the European Union. The triannual conference sets the stage for the CoP15 Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity scheduled for next month in Montreal.

Read more from CITES.