GENEVA – Nine animals received increased protections from international trade, and more than 130 species won protections for the first time at a two-week summit aimed at managing the multibillion-dollar cross-border wildlife trade while preventing endangered animals and plants from sliding to extinction. Not every country went home happy. “What I sense in the room, and what I’m concerned about is there’s a bitterness,” says Ivonne Higuero, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora ( CITES ). “There’s a discussion of ‘This is not working for me, it hasn’t been working for me for some time.’” From August 17 to August 28, 182 countries and the European Union considered proposals for more than 500 species, and their votes often broke down based on political, economic, and geographic lines. Southern African nations, for example, squared off against many other African nations on their differing approaches to elephant conservation and how to fund it. Until now, CITES decisions about levels of protection for species have been based exclusively on science—knowledge accumulated by biologists and ecologists, for example—but disagreements arose over how much weight CITES should now give to other factors, including the needs and […]

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