Wild animal and plant trade and protection act 2019 annual report: chapter 2

2. Management of wild animals and plants in trade

The effective implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) depends on international cooperation to regulate cross-border movement of listed species through a global system of permits that are verified at international borders.

2.1 Permitting overview

In Canada, CITES permits are issued pursuant to Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA); Schedule I of Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations (WAPTR) includes all CITES-listed species.

2.1.1 Requirements

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

There are different permit requirements depending on the CITES appendix in which a species is listed.

Table 1 describes the various types of permits and certificates that are issued in Canada under WAPPRIITA.

Table 1: Types of Canadian permits and certificates under WAPPRIITA
Type of permit or certificate Description
Import permit Issued for all specimens of species included in Schedule I of the WAPTR that are also listed in CITES Appendix I. An export permit from the exporting country is also required to authorize the importation into Canada. Import permits are valid for up to one year.
Export permit Issued for all specimens of species included in Schedule I of the WAPTR that are also listed in CITES Appendix I and II to be exported from Canada. An export permit is required for species listed in CITES Appendix III that originate in Canada and were proposed for listing by Canada (for example, Walrus). Multiple shipments under a permit can be authorized when the applicant intends to make multiple transactions during the period for which the permit is valid. Export permits are valid for up to six months.
Re-export certificate Issued for all specimens of species included in Schedule I of the WAPTR to be exported from Canada after having been legally imported into Canada at an earlier time. Re-export certificates are valid for up to six months.
Certificate of ownership Issued to authorize frequent cross-border movement of personally owned live CITES-listed animals (also known as a pet passport). Certificates of ownership are valid for up to three years.
Temporary movement/travelling exhibition certificate Issued for specimens that are only temporarily exported from Canada and that will, within a limited amount of time, be returned to Canada. Authorization can be provided for orchestras, museum exhibits or circus specimens that are either pre-Convention, captive bred or artificially propagated. Authorization can also be provided for individuals wanting to travel with musical instruments containing parts made from CITES-listed species (for example, ivory, Brazilian rosewood). Temporary movement certificates are valid for up to three years.
Scientific certificate Issued for the exchange between CITES-registered scientific institutions of museum, research and herbarium specimens. Scientific certificates are valid for up to three years.
Injurious wildlife permit An injurious wildlife permit is necessary for importing specimens of species posing risks to Canadian ecosystems that are included in Schedule II of the WAPTR (for example, for zoos and scientific institutions; and import of fur products or garments).

2.1.2 Exemptions

WAPPRIITA authorizes exemptions, in specific situations, for the import and export of CITES listed species without permits. WAPTR specifies four exemptions: tourist souvenirs, personal effects, household effects and certain hunting trophies. The hunting trophy exemption applies to fresh, frozen or salted trophies of Black Bear and Sandhill Crane for American hunters returning to the United States with their trophy harvested in Canada, or for Canadian hunters returning to Canada with their trophy harvested in the United States. Further information on exemptions is available online.

Canadian threatened or endangered species listed on Schedule III of the WAPTR are not included in these exemptions and require all necessary CITES permits.

2.1.3 Service Standards under WAPPRIITA

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has established service standards for WAPPRIITA permit decisions and the issuance of permits. ECCC’s goal is to provide permit decisions within a certain number of days depending on the permit and to meet these standards for at least 90% of all permit applications. The performance is tracked on a fiscal year basis.

ECCC nearly met the performance targets for all CITES permit categories (84% Hunting Trophy Exports, 86% Polar Bear Exports and 88% for all other permit types). New resources and new procedures with partners should allow ECCC to meet the performance targets next year. The Department’s performance against these standards is published online.

ECCC made 100% of the WAPTR injurious wildlife permit decisions within the standard of 70 calendar days. The Department’s performance against thi standard is published online.

2.2 Annual report to CITES

Every country that is Party to CITES is required to submit to the CITES Secretariat a detailed report of what was permitted by that country in a calendar year. This report is due on October 31st of the following year (for example, the 2018 annual report was due on October 31, 2019 and the 2019 annual report is due October 31, 2020).

Figures 1a and 1b show highlights of some of the most important exports or re-exports reported in the Canada 2018 CITES annual report. In 2018, Canada issued permits for 368 different CITES-listed species.

Figure 1a: High volume exports or re-exports listed in the Canada 2018 CITES annual report (Canadian species)

bar graph, long description below

* Samples collected from 20 sharks of each species, by one group for a scientific research project.

Long description for figure 1a 

Figure 1a shows a graphic of the number of exports or re-exports listed in the Canada 2018 CITES annual report:

  • 178 Walrus - tusk, bone or skull
  • 218 Polar bear - body or full skin
  • 381 Cougar - skins, skulls, bodies or trophies
  • 472 Falcons - live (bred in captivity)
  • 490 Narwhal - tusk
  • 3166 Wolf - skins, skulls, bodies or trophies
  • 5460 Black bear - skins, skulls, bodies or trophies
  • 8787 Otter - skins, bodies or trophies
  • 9471 Canadian Lynx - skins, bodies or trophies
  • *20,400 White shark - scientific specimens
  • * 20,400 Thresher shark - scientific specimens
  • * 20,400 Porbeagle shark - scientific specimens
  • 24,851 Bobcat - skins, bodies or trophies

Off the chart 

In 2018, Canada also exported:

  • 455,000 live fertilized Lake Sturgeon eggs (for reintroduction programs)
  • 4,786,364 kilograms of American ginseng roots, sliced or whole

Canada is currently the largest producer of North American Ginseng in the world. The majority of production is from Simcoe area of Ontario and the balance is mainly produced in British Columbia.

Figure 1b: High volume exports or re-exports listed in the Canada 2018 CITES annual report (Non-indigenous species)

bar graph, long description below
Long description for Figure 1b 

Figure 1a shows a graphic of the number of exports or re-exports listed in the Canada 2018 CITES annual report (non-indigenous species):

  • 366 Monitor lizards - live animals (bred in captivity)
  • 1287 Nile crocodile - leather products, skins or teeth
  • 1303 American alligator - leather products (mainly watchstraps)
  • 1441 Elephant invory - antique carvings or finsihed products
  • 1659 Ponytail palm - live plants (from greenhouses)
  • 1668 Brazilwood - carving
  • 2664 Barrel cactus - live plants (from greenhouses)
  • 3118 Poison dart frogs - live animals (bred in captivity)
  • 3314 Aloe plants - live plants (from greenhouses)
  • 4173 Ball python - live animals (bred in captivity)

Additional high volume exports and re-exports include:

2.3 CITES permits issued in 2019

ECCC issues all export permits and re-export certificates for non indigenous species. In collaboration with some of Canada’s provinces and territories, ECCC issues export permits and re-export certificates for specimens of indigenous species harvested in Canada. Fisheries and Oceans Canada issues the majority of the export permits for CITES-listed aquatic species.

ECCC issues all import permits and other specialized CITES certificates. In addition to CITES-listed species, ECCC issues all import permits for species that may pose a risk to Canadian ecosystems, which are listed on Schedule II of WAPTR.

2.3.1 Export permits and re-export certificates

Export permits are issued for specimens (animals, plants, their parts or derivatives) of CITES-listed species that originate in Canada and are being exported from Canada for the first time.

Re-export certificates are used to track trade in specimens that entered Canada under the authorization of permits issued by foreign states and were then re-exported from Canada.

Table 2 shows the number of export permits and re-export certificates issued in 2019 by Canadian CITES permitting offices, which totalled 7471.

Table 2: CITES export permits and re-export certificates issued in Canadian CITES permitting offices in 2019
Canadian jurisdiction Department or Province Number of export permits and re-export certificates issued Share of total export permits and re-export certificates issued
Federal government Environment and Climate Change Canada 5527
74%
Federal government Fisheries and Oceans Canada 177 2.4%
Provinces/Territories British Columbia 908 12.1%
Provinces/Territories Ontario 643 8.6%
Provinces/Territories New Brunswick 104 1.4%
Provinces/Territories Yukon 112 1.5%
Total -- 7471 100%

The number of permits issued is not indicative of trade volumes, because there is not a one-to-one relationship between permits issued and specimens of species on the permit. Each export permit or re-export certificate can authorize the export of multiple specimens or species. On a permit each species and their parts or derivatives is listed. In the case of export of biomedical samples, for example, a permit could have hundreds of individual specimens listed (for example, blood, serum, microscope slides, paraffin blocks). In other cases, there may be few specimens listed on the permit, but large quantities for each specimen (for example, hundreds of Bobcat skins from a fur auction).

When a species is protected under CITES, a permit is required for all specimens of that species (unless some exemptions apply). A specimen can be the live species, parts or derivatives of the species, or finished products made from those species. There are over 35,000 species listed in CITES with approximately 29,000 of those species being plants (for example, orchids, cacti, rosewood). While there is a minimal number of species listed in CITES which are indigenous to Canada, many foreign species are imported into Canada and either re-exported as is, bred or propagated in Canada, or transformed into finished products in Canada.

In 2019, Canada issued export permits and re-export certificates for the following purposes using the transaction codes as defined in CITES Resolution 12.3Footnote 1.

Figure 2 shows the percentage of distribution of export permits and re-export certificates, by purpose of transaction, issued in 2019.

Figure 2: Percentage of CITES export permits and re-export certificates issued in 2019, by purpose of transaction

Pie chart, long description below

 

Note: Purpose of transactions for export and re-export permits are relatively constant from year to year.

*Includes exhibitions (26), zoos (50), law enforcement (16) and reintroduction in the wild (16).

Long description for figure 2

Figure 2 is a pie chart that presents the percentage of CITES export permits and re-export certificates issued in 2019, by purpose of transaction: 40% for hunting trophies (2847); 25% for commercial purposes (1885); 15% for personal use (1080); 14% for biomedical research(1164); 4% for breeding (288); *5% for other uses (108); 1% for scientific research (99).

Figure 3 shows the percentage of distribution, by purpose of transaction, of export permits and re-export certificates issued between 2010 and 2019.

Figure 3: Percentages of CITES export permits and re-export certificates issued in previous years, by purpose of transaction (some numbers have been rounded)

Bar graph, long description below

* 2019 “Other” data includes breeding, as well as exhibitions, zoos, law enforcement, and reintroduction in the wild. Previous years “Other” data includes exhibitions, zoos, law enforcement, botanical gardens and reintroduction in the wild.

Long description for figure 3
Figure 3: Percentages of CITES export permits and re-export certificates issued in previous years, by purpose of transaction (some numbers have been rounded)
Year Hunting trophies Personal use Scientific research Commercial purposes Biomedical research Other
2019 40 15 1 25 14 5
2018 46 20 1 23 8 2
2017 46 21 1 23 7 2
2016 54 14 1 20 8 2
2015 48 15 1 27 7 2
2014 43 16 1 32 6
2
2013 45 14 1 33 5 2
2012 39 16 2 37 4 2
2011 35 17 1 40 5 3
2010 36 19 1 37 3 3

Table 3 indicates the number of export permits issued in each of the past six calendar years for Polar Bears harvested in Canada. An analysis is provided of the year of harvest of the Polar bear being exported in a particular calendar year. The permits may include any polar bear specimen – for example, skin, skull, claws, baculum, etc. Permits for scientific samples of polar bears are not included in this analysis, since they are not related to polar bear harvest.

Table 3: Number of CITES export permits issued per year for Polar Bears harvested in Canada and breakdown of the total number of Polar Bears by harvest seasona in which the bears were harvested
Year permit issued Total export permits issued 2019 to 2020b 2018 to 2019b 2017 to 2018b 2016 to 2017b 2015 to 2016b 2014 to 2015b 2013 to 2014b 2012 to 2013b 2011 to 2012b 2010 to 2011b
2019 148 29 45 21 20 7 12 6 2 0 0
2018 206 0 1 57 40 45 27 18 5 3 0
2017 215 0 0 0 45 79 29 24 16 9 7
2016 232 0 0 0 0 67 57 50 28 7 11
2015 292 0 0 0 0 0 50 87 88 27 20
2014 237 0 0 0 0 0 0 56 99 32 18

Note: It is important to note that even if a permit for a specific Polar Bear is issued in a calendar year, the actual export may not take place for various reasons (for example, permit expired before shipment could take place, cancelled shipment, changes from rug to full mount, etc.). A permit could be reissued in the same calendar year or subsequent years for a specific Polar Bear, which was never actually exported under a previously issued permit.

a Harvest season is counted from July to June of following year. For example, harvest season 2018-2019 started on July 1, 2018, and finished on June 30, 2019.

b Number of Polar Bears by harvest season.

2.3.2 Permits for multiple shipments

An export permit or re-export certificate may authorize multiple shipments of specimens that have been approved by the permitting office. The permit or certificate holder is responsible for identifying the destination, specific specimens and quantities that make up each shipment. This provides a simplified procedure for permit holders who trade in specimens with very little or no impact to the conservation of species. Of the 7471 export permits and re-export certificates listed in Table 2, there were 1399 for multiple shipments, authorizing 69,970 shipments. By far, the largest share of multiple shipment permits was issued to growers and distributors of American Ginseng.

In Canada, the export of a small quantity of artificially propagated American Ginseng for personal use (up to 4.5 kg) is authorized through a simplified permitting procedure using ginseng stickers. A permit sticker identifying the permit number under which the multiple shipments are authorized accompanies each shipment. Individual stickers accounted for 86% (60,472 of the 69,970) of the multiple shipment permits authorized in 2019.

2.3.3 Imports into Canada

Figure 4 indicates the distribution of 162 CITES import permits, by purpose as indicated by the CITES transaction code, issued in 2019.

Figure 4: Percentage of CITES import permits issued in 2019, by purpose of transaction

Pie chart, long description below

Note: The imports for commercial purposes consists mainly of artificially propagated plants, pre-Convention specimens ((for example, antiques containing ivory) and captive-bred animals (for example, falcons, parrots).

*Includes breeding (21) and law enforcement (1).

Long description for figure 4

Figure 4 is a pie chart that presents the percentage of CITES import permits issued in 2019, by purpose of transaction: 31% for commercial purposes (53); 22% for personal use (38); 13% for other uses (22) which include breeding and law enforcement; 13% for hunting trophies (21); 11% for zoos (19); 6% for exhibitions (10); 4% for scientific research (7).

Figure 5 indicates the percentage of overall CITES import permits issued between 2010 and 2019, by purpose of transaction.

Figure 5: Percentage of CITES import permits issued from 2010 to 2019, by purpose of transaction

Bar graph, long description below

* Includes breeding, law enforcement, reintroduction to the wild and biomedical research.

Long description for figure 5

This graph chart presents the percentage of CITES import permits issued from 2010 to 2019, by purpose of transaction: In 2019, 31% of permits were for commercial purposes, 22% were for personal use, 13% were for hunting trophies, 13% were for other uses, 11% were for zoos, 6% were for exhibitions, and 4% were for scientific research; in 2018, 13% of permits were for hunting trophies, 26% were for commercial use, 25% were for personal use, 5% were for scientific research, 5% were for exhibits, 15% were for zoos and 11% were for other uses; in 2017, 11% of permits were for hunting trophies, 26% were for commercial use, 35% were for personal use, 6% were for scientific research, 3% were for exhibits, 9% were for zoos and 10% were for other uses; in 2016, 21% of permits were for hunting trophies, 36% were for commercial use, 21% were for personal use, 3% were for scientific research, 5% were for exhibits, 9% were for zoos and 5% were for other uses; in 2015, 21% of permits were for hunting trophies, 35% were for commercial use, 19% were for personal use, 3% were for scientific research, 4% were for exhibits, 13% were for zoos and 5% were for other uses; in 2014, 18% of permits were for hunting trophies, 23% were for commercial use, 38% were for personal use, 7% were for scientific research, 4% were for exhibits, 7% were for zoos and 3% were for other uses; in 2013, 11% of permits were for hunting trophies, 25% were for commercial use, 30% were for personal use, 7% were for scientific research, 9% were for exhibits, 15% were for zoos and 3% were for other uses; in 2012, 17% of permits were for hunting trophies, 29% were for commercial use, 23% were for personal use, 6% were for scientific research, 7% were for exhibits, 6% were for zoos and 12% were for other uses; in 2011, 16% of permits were for hunting trophies, 32% were for commercial use, 27% were for personal use, 4% were for scientific research, 8% were for exhibits, 8% were for zoos and 5% were for other uses; in 2010, 13% of permits were for hunting trophies, 37% were for commercial use, 14% were for personal use, 8% were for scientific research, 8% were for exhibits, 10% were for zoos and 10% were for other uses.

2.3.4 Specialized CITES certificates

As indicated in Table 1, there are many types of permits and certificates issued in Canada under WAPPRIITA. The specialized CITES certificate allows movement of CITES-listed specimens in specialized scenarios. There are three types of specialized certificates:

While these specialized certificates represent a modest number of permits issued each year, they serve a very important function by facilitating the movement of specimens of CITES-listed species in low-risk situations.

Table 4 shows the number of certificates issued by type from 2010 to 2019.

Table 4: CITES certificates issued from 2010 to 2019 by type
Year Certificate of Ownership Temporary Movement certificate Scientific Certificate Total
2019 81 52 5 138
2018 49 37 7 93
2017 65 41 11 117
2016 104 40 1 145
2015 68 27 5 100
2014 68 45 13 126
2013 88 33 5 126
2012 74 25 No data 99
2011 62 4 4 70
2010 82 13 No data 95

2.4 Permits specifc to WAPTR

Oxpecker

Canada requires import permits for certain species that may pose a risk to Canadian ecosystems, but do not necessarily appear in the CITES appendices (referred to as injurious wildlife permits). These species are listed in Schedule II of WAPTR and include Raccoon Dogs, Mongooses, Starlings, Mynas and Oxpeckers. Schedule II of WAPTR was amended in May 2018 to include all species under the order Caudata, which includes salamanders, newts and mudpuppies. This amendment was to continue the protection initiated in May 2017 to protect Canadian Salamanders and ecosystems from a devastating fungal disease.

Injurious wildlife permits are typically issued in two scenarios: import of live Salamanders for zoos and scientific institutions; and import of fur products or garments made of Raccoon Dogs. A disease-causing fungus called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), has been devastating salamander populations in Europe. It is suspected that the fungus spread from Asia via the pet trade. Wild Salamanders play a vital role in Canada's ecosystems as part of the food web and in nutrient and carbon cycling. If the fungus enters Canadian ecosystems, the impacts on our native Salamanders will likely be severe. Canada prohibits the import of all species of the order Caudata unless accompanied by a permit. This import restriction includes living or dead specimens (or any other parts or derivatives of species of the order Caudata) as well as any of their eggs, sperm, tissue culture or embryos.

Table 5 shows the number of other permits issued from 2017 to 2019.

Table 5: Other permits issued from 2017 to 2019
Year Live animals (Salamanders) Garments/Scientific specimens
Total
2019 4 6 10
2018 5 5 10
2017 4 1 5

2.5 Canada’s trading partners

Canada’s major trading partners under CITES, particularly for exports, continue to be the United States, the member countries of the European Union, and the countries of East and Southeast Asia. Exports to the United States and the European Union cover a wide-range of specimens and species. In the case of Asia, particularly East and Southeast Asia, the species most commonly exported from Canada was cultivated American Ginseng, with these regions accounting for the majority of Canada’s foreign market for this species.

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