Results of call for proposals: 17th Conference of the Parties

Environment Canada received one proposal for consideration to place walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) on Appendix II. It is currently listed on Appendix III in Canada. Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that seeks the cooperation of other countries in the control of trade. Appendix II controls trade of species by requiring an export permit that includes a determination that the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.

Walrus occurs in Canada, Norway, Greenland, Russia and the United States. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species placed walrus in the category of Data Deficient in 2008. The Atlantic Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), the only Canadian subspecies of walrus, has been assessed as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada (COSEWIC, 2006). Walrus are subject to a subsistence harvest by Inuit. The majority of international trade in walrus is from tusks and teeth that come from Canada and Greenland. The proponent feels there is need for greater international trade protection of walrus. The proponent cites factors such as loss of sea ice and disturbance from at-sea activities as posing an increasing threat to the species in the coming decades.

In addition, at this time Canada is considering whether to submit proposals to the 17th Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to do the following:

  1. Transfer the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) from Appendix I to Appendix II.
    • The Peregrine Falcon has a wide distribution and global range, the ability to adapt to different habitats and populations are generally stable or increasing. In 2014 the species was assessed and listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the category of Least Concern.

      Species that do not satisfy the relevant CITES criteria for continued listing in Appendix I are eligible to be transferred to Appendix II when one of several precautionary measures is met (Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP16)), and we are in the process of gathering information from range States and key trading partners to evaluate whether this is the case. Peregrine Falcons are effectively protected in Canada through federal, provincial and territorial laws and decisions on harvest would remain the responsibility of provinces and territories in the event of a transfer to Appendix II.

  2. Transfer of Eastern cougar (Puma concolor couguar) from CITES Appendix I to Appendix II.
    • Puma concolor couguar, the cougar of eastern North America, is considered extinct and there is no trade. Sightings and captures of cougars in eastern North America are extremely unlikely to be of Puma concolor couguar lineage. With this proposal all cougars in Canada would be listed on CITES Appendix II, and they would continue to be protected under federal, provincial and territorial laws.

  3. Remove wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) from the CITES Appendices, pending outcomes of consultations and discussions. It is currently listed on CITES Appendix II.  This suggestion was made as part of the public consultation process from the last Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in 2013.
    • A review of the available biological information against the CITES listing criteria and precautionary measures indicates that the subspecies does not meet the criteria for continued listing on CITES. Regulations are in place federally, and through provincial and territorial wildlife Acts and Agriculture Acts to ensure that harvest and trade will not threaten the species even in the absence of CITES controls.

A decision to proceed with any of the above proposals will be informed by broad consultation with relevant partners and the public, and will also be based on an evaluation of the current knowledge of the species, including use and trade, and existing management and trade controls.  If you have feedback on the above proposals being considered by Canada we would be pleased to hear from you by April 4, 2016. Proposals must be submitted by Canada for the CITES CoP17 Agenda by the deadline of April 27, 2016.

Each of these proposals will encourage decision-making in CITES that is founded on species conservation and consideration of risks to species from international trade, in line with the purpose of CITES and consistent with how Canada makes its decisions in the CITES fora.

A meeting for Canada to receive comments from the public will be held in Ottawa in June, 2016. We will post another notice on this Environment Canada website once the details are finalized.

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