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Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), international agreement that aims to ensure that trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES covers more than 35,000 animal and plant species, including tigers, elephants, sea turtles, parrots, and manta rays, and such products as exotic leather goods, shark fins, rhinoceros horns, ivory, coral, and certain types of fur and timber, though member nations enter a reservation and may not participate with respect to certain species. Resulting from a 1963 meeting of the World Conservation Union (now the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources ), CITES was approved in 1973 at a meeting of 80 nations Washington, D.C., and went went into effect in 1975. It has since been ratified by 183 countries. Roughly every three years, the members of CITES as well as UN and international organizations, environmental and animal welfare groups, private companies, and other interested organizations meet for a Conference of the Parties, at which the members vote on modifications to the convention.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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