Geneva, Aug. 20, 2019 – The following statement was issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society thanking Sri Lanka and the United States for leading the charge on behalf of songbirds at CITES CoP18  (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Conference of the Parties) underway in Geneva:

Said Madhu Rao, WCS Senior Advisor Asia Program:

“We applaud the governments of the USA and Sri Lanka for ensuring that the governments gathered at the CITES CoP18 take heed that songbirds need our help. Songbirds may be silenced if we don’t take actions now on their behalf. Songbirds are under severe threat from habitat loss and exploitation for trade. This is a global problem.

“This morning, CITES delegates established a working group to develop final recommendations for the CITES Animals Committee to examine the scale and scope of the trade in​ songbirds for strengthened management and protection of wild populations. We look forward to the working group’s recommendations and adoption of these recommendations in the coming days.

“These steps at CITES are important first steps to ensuring that at future CITES meetings we will have the data needed to extend real protections to key songbird species, and that governments will implement conservation and management measures that are urgently needed.

“WCS is highly concerned by the serious decline in songbirds and the threats posed by international trade in these species. We appreciate the submission of this comprehensive document by Sri Lanka and the USA. And we applaud the world’s zoos for backing efforts to protect songbirds.

“Songbirds such as the white-rumped shama (Copsychus malabaricu) and the straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus), which are both trapped relentlessly, and hundreds more species will benefit from today’s actions.”



WCS is a strong supporter of CITES, has staff who have attended all meetings of the Conference of the Parties since CoP7 in 1989, and will be represented by many international wildlife and policy experts at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in Geneva, Switzerland. WCS views on the proposals to amend the Appendices are based on the CITES listing criteria, the best available scientific and technical information, and information from our field and country programs around the world. To learn more about WCS recommendations go HERE. WCS’s ‘on-the-ground’ presence across much of the globe enables it to address multiple aspects of wildlife exploitation and trade, including wildlife crime, at all points along the trade chain in source, transit and consumer countries.