Global Rewilding Day 2022

Global Rewilding Day 2022

The world is changing dramatically. Shocking to witness the war in Ukraine and the catastrophic storms and flooding on the east coast of Australia whilst covid and other viruses continue to challenge us daily.

It’s a difficult time and the past two years challenging, especially here in Victoria where we’ve had continual lockdowns to deal with Covid.

Biodiversity loss is a crisis around the world and yet there’s very little attention by governments in Australia, preferring to prop up industries that continue the annihilation, seemingly ignoring the reports from the World Economic Forum and the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report ranks two nature risks – biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse – as among the top five economic risks for this decade. $44 trillion, more than half of the world’s total gross domestic product, is moderately or highly dependent on nature.

Today is Global Rewilding Day. Unfortunately, not a day to celebrate. For the Love of Wildlife has always and will continue to champion wildlife and wilderness, proud partners of The Rewilding Global Alliance in our mission to give space back to wildlife and returning wildlife back to the land and seas. The mass recovery of ecosystems and the life-supporting functions they provide, allowing natural processes to shape whole ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity to give life to the land and the seas.

“To restore stability to our planet, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing that we’ve removed.  It’s the only way out of this crisis we’ve created – we must rewild the world.”

Sir David Attenborough

Helping nature heal itself is how we heal ourselves. Human health is inextricably linked to ecological health, rewilding strengthens the web of life, stabilising the climate emergency. It’s all about ecological justice and respectful relationship with nature.

Global Rewilding Day 2022

Small marsupial found in Western Australia.

We’re excited to be part of The Quenda project with our partners in Western Australia.

The Quenda is a small, native Australian mammal that digs small pits whilst looking for food. It’s also the name of an Australian remote, autonomous, ‘Mars’ rover style vehicle that mimics the Quenda by digging micro pits, sampling the soil and surveying the environment in one action.

As partners of the Global Rewilding Alliance, we’re looking forward to putting Australia on the map in regenerating degraded landscapes. For more information, click the logo.

Global Rewilding Day 2022

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong – impacts wildlife

Australia has suffered extreme weather events and we are still recovering from the horrific bushfires which saw over 3 billion animals killed. Just over a month ago, Victoria (and other parts of Australia) were hit with unprecedented storms. So many houses and cars totalled by falling trees and incredible that nobody lost their lives. Massive losses to habitat and wildlife with so many trees down – it looked like a war zone for days after.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

What was incredulous was the time it took for anyone to really understand the gravity of the situation and the delays in getting help. What emerged was something quite stunning, a community united with deep connections formed and a display of generous, open-heartedness; remarkable people stepping up and filling the void. It leaves you feeling extraordinarily proud and humbled to be part of this beautiful mountain community.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Watch news report and video here on 9 News Melbourne

With the enormous loss of critical habitat, wildlife is requiring our help and why we chose to take action for frontline carers. Despite the millions raised after the bushfires, what is evident is that carers at the coal face have been forgotten and left to deal with the increasing number of animals requiring care. Whilst For the Love of Wildlife predominantly works at a policy level, we couldn’t let these small shelters go without help.

Thanks to YOU, our friends and supporters, we set up a GoFundMe page and at the time of posting this blog, we have raised a whopping $3,200! This money will go to new enclosures, feed and vet bills as the ever increasing number of animals requiring help continues. We’d also like to thank our friends at Humane Society International Australia who have also helped with funding.

The generosity of this community has been overwhelming and there’s a heap of gorgeous souls we need to thank including:

FLOWildlife member Jennifer Fernandes who met with Barry and Helen McIlwaine, Knox School Falcon Philanthropy Group about the need for a quad bike which resulted in this bike being gifted to Nell Pedzik of Wild Paws Wildlife Shelter in Monbulk, Victoria.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Corinne Sukroo from Bell Real Estate in Olinda was contacted about the women desperately needing a generator so that humidicribs weren’t without power and water supply was not interrupted (they are on a pump) to be able to keep the infants warm and heat their bottles. Despite all the help she’s given to the local community, Corinne didn’t hesitate for a second to supply a brand new generator as well as other necessary items. Thanks to Trevor Bell for collecting old quad and dropping off for sale.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Louise Black, Bayside Community Emergency Relief made a special trip to drop off much need pouches which Nicola Rain of Amaroo Wildlife Shelter is putting to good use for all the babies she’s caring for. Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Long time supporter and FLOWildlife member Stephen Powell who will fix a couple of the aviaries which house sugar gliders and possums.

Another FLOWildlife member Dr Anne Small who donated teff and hay for the wombats that had their burrows flooded during the storms (and still being flooded!). Dr Anne also donated fuel containers, power cords and other items to storm impacted residents.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Andrew Fillip-Gautier of The Philanthropic Collective – Free Food Program is also generously assisting with ongoing food supplies for both carers and wombies!

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Babies not sure what’s going on after their burrows were flooded.

Both of these shelters are currently caring for sugar gliders, all varieties of possums, wombats and so many more. Wombats are usually in care for up to two years before they can be released to the wild and they have ten in care to date.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Usually in hibernation this time of the year, this little one was found lying on the ground next to a fallen tree.

We’re so pleased to have helped with getting their story out into the world and thrilled they appeared in Ranges Trader Star Mail and also Sunday Age with them appearing on the cover (and that was the same day Ash Barty won the tennis – wildlife wins!).

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife
Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

THANK YOU dear friends for all your loving support – the generosity has been overwhelming and so gratefully received. If we’ve missed anyone, so sorry but know that your kindness has made a very real different.

GoFundMe campaign is still open so please share with friends as wildlife needs all the help it can get.

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

Please help stop the unbearable suffering caused by the use of 1080 poison. There are humane options available but the lack of investment and addiction to using it “because we’ve always used it” is no longer acceptable.

Working with Alex Vince, Ban 1080 Poison campaign director, who is a wealth of information and also the driver behind Blue Mountains Council banning its use, has made us aware of just how many companion animals and wildlife are also succumbing to cruel deaths.

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

What to do if you suspect a pet has ingested 1080 poison.

The letter to council is below and we call on anyone who lives in the Yarra Ranges Shire or Knox Council to add your name to the letter by emailing us at
If you live elsewhere and wish to contact your council, please feel free to use this letter as a template.



Letter to council (please feel free to use and adapt)

Dear Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors

On behalf of many in the local community, we ask for your urgent attention to this most serious matter.

We are again shocked to see an advertisement (attached for reference) stating that 1080 poison will be used in the Yarra Ranges Shire, predominantly to kill foxes.  While introduced species may pose a problem to wildlife, surely it is possible to transition from this horrific poison to protect the native fauna without the fear of the danger it poses to our children, dogs and other non-target species?

We have researched this poison and draw your attention to the following horrendous facts:

  • 1080 is a schedule 7 chemical of security concern to Australia
  • It is banned in every country except 6, which includes Australia and New Zealand
  • It is indiscriminate and non-selective
  • It is banned in the US due to the “extreme hazard to human health and to the environment”
  • the World Health Organisation defines it as a Class 1A pesticide ie: extremely hazardous
  • 1080 kills inhumanely: the suffering lasts between 8–24 hours for birds and 2–4 days for large mammals
  • It routinely kills non-target and threatened native species
  • There is no antidote

Symptoms of 1080 poisoning include “vomiting, anxiety, disorientation and shaking”. These quickly develop into frenzied behaviour with running and screaming fits, drooling at the mouth, uncontrolled paddling and seizures, followed by total collapse and death.”[1]

The possibility of poisoning native non-target species like the endangered Tiger or Eastern Quoll or ground-digging marsupials like Potoroos, or omnivorous birds is strenuously denied by government authorities. However, localised extinctions of Tiger Quolls were linked to 1080 baiting 20 years ago when politicians were informed by a government Threatened Species Scientific Committee.[2]

1080 poison spreads through the ecosystem destroying soil microbes and insects.  It permeates waterways affecting crustaceans and water life including platypus. There are no life forms it will not kill and not one area in the ecosystem it cannot be limited to as it radiates out with devastating consequences

Viable alternatives include immunocontraception and the introduction of indigenous predators such as Dingoes. We also wish to bring to your attention the recent ban by the Blue Mountains City Council.

In 2008 the Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts stated: “Since foxes only breed once a year over a short period in early winter, fertility control could be applied over a short period of time each year. Targeting fertility may yield an effective long-term approach to reducing fox numbers.” [3]

We the undersigned, ask council to stop using 1080 poison in the Yarra Ranges Shire and to work with the CSIRO, State Government and environmental scientists on a humane solution to this man-made problem.

Thank you for considering our appeal. We look forward to hearing from you soon with your response.

Yours sincerely



 H Hahner, 1080, the nasty poison. The District Bulletin, Nov 2012, p18.

C A Belcher, Demographics of tiger quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus) populations in south-eastern Australia, Australian Journal of Zoology, 2003.

Michael T Lohr and Robert A Davis, Anticoagulant rodenticide use, non-target impacts and regulation: A case study from Australia. Science of the Total Environment, Feb 2018.

[1] H Hahner, 1080, the nasty poison. The District Bulletin, Nov 2012, p18



Our work has been featured

Our work has been featured

Very exciting to have our work featured in a couple of prominent publications.

Our Founding Director, Donalea Patman OAM, gave a talk to the members of the Order of Australia Association over zoom during the pandemic (and the same week she had her foot operated on!), with the Chair of the association inviting her to write an article for the Victorian newsletter and also the national magazine.

Our work has been featured

Our work has been featured

National Magazine article follows:

Endangered species don’t have the luxury of time

We are in what scientists are calling a 6th mass extinction and one of the key drivers is the legal trade in endangered species. It is one of the most lucrative trades in the world yet the mechanism that monitors this trade, worth more than US$320 billion a year, hasn’t been updated since the 70’s, is mostly paper-based and doesn’t integrate with customs.

For the Love of Wildlife (FLOW), successfully worked with the Australian government to ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts in 2015, as a direct response to the brutal and horrific industry of breeding lions for the bullet – this is a legal trade. Hunters who pay to kill only get the head and skin whilst breeders keep the bones which can be worth an additional $5,000 a carcass, used to supplement the Asian tiger bone industry as it is difficult to tell the difference between tiger and lion bones.

Then after finding ivory for sale on Chapel Street in Melbourne in 2016, FLOW went on to address the rampant unregulated, legal, domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia. Three years later, Australia announced at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna) CoP in Geneva that we would join other countries in closing the domestic trade so that we’re no longer complicit in the current poaching crisis. The States and Territories are to date yet to adopt the trade ban.

Through these campaigns FLOW exposed just how flawed the current global trade system is and that CITES is severely under resourced and unable to keep up with the ever-increasing species listed for trade restrictions which is currently around 38,000 species, with the recent IPBES reporting that number soon to be a million. It’s also worth noting that a listing can take an average of 11 years for implementation and some species, even if they’re listed on the IUCN Red List (critically endangered), can take up to 24 years. We are clearly in an extinction crisis but the processes are glacially slow.

Why the lumbering inertia with modernising CITES and specifically in implementing a global digitised permit system? Representatives in Geneva from US Homeland Security stated that electronic permitting will decisively close the illegal trade and yet so much of the large conservation space is focused on illegal trade without the required urgency or focus in fixing the basics (ie the legal trade)?

An electronic permit system has been created by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments and is now operational in Sri Lanka. For the cost of around US$30 million (about US$150,000 per country) all 183 signatory countries could have this installed closing the loopholes. It would also raise a red flag to a possible zoonotic outbreak resulting from comprehensive tracking and traceability.


Victorian Order of Australia Magazine article follows:

The thunderous roar of a lion raises the hair on your neck and to see lions in the wild is unforgettable. My first sighting certainly had me draw in breath, awestruck by their magnificence, their presence, their power.

A few hours later this was shattered as I was told lions are facing extinction. Less than 15,000 lions roam all of Africa, only 10% of which are pride males, exploited by an industry that is as cruel and barbaric as one can imagine; one that is threatening their very survival.

It was heartbreaking to hear how wild lion prides are chased down, the cubs stolen to reinvigorate captive breeding stock. It all starts with cub petting and pay and play experiences with cubs taken off their mothers a few days after birth, tourist attractions that are highly lucrative pseudo-CONservation programs. Australian volunteers paying more than a $1,000 a week, duped into believing they are hand raising “orphaned” cubs that will one day be returned to the wild. The reality is this is the first step in a highly lucrative “value chain”. When too old to be bottle fed and played with, juveniles are moved to “walking with lions” tourist experiences. From there they return to the death camps, waiting to be purchased online for a quick, cost effective and guaranteed kill. Habituated to humans, these lions are an easy kill, bred for the bullet and shot behind fences. This is the horrific industry of “canned hunting”.

Learning about canned hunting, on the same day I saw lions in the wild for the very first time, rocked me to my core and ignited a rage I never knew I had. I was literally shaking with anger when the friend I was travelling with said “why don’t you go into the world and do something about it”. I couldn’t possibly envisage the path that I was propelled to set upon.

In 2013, leading up to a Federal election, I started writing to the candidates whose marketing material was landing in my letterbox. My letters described the critical demise of lions, canned hunting and how Australia was complicit. Jason Wood MP responded to my concerns, and working tirelessly together on this issue, eighteen months later Australia banned the importation of lion trophies and body parts. A global first. Australia’s ban followed by France, the Netherlands with the US implementing strict import laws, the key client of this brutal trade.

Even before the ban was announced, I knew my 25 years in corporate business was over, founding the charity For the Love of Wildlife Ltd in early 2014. The Australian ban came before the global outrage at the death of Cecil, the lion lured outside the border of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, and killed by US dentist Walter Palmer.

But this story isn’t only about the commodification of lions, so much of the world’s wildlife is being exploited for trade.  The legal trade in endangered species was valued at US$320 billion annually as long ago as 2009 yet the system that facilitates this global trade hasn’t been modernised since the 1970s, is mostly paper-based and doesn’t integrate with customs.

And let’s not forget the pandemic, crippling the world, is zoonotic in origin, triggered by the trade in exotic species which rely on captive breeding facilities to supply the “raw material” used in the fashion, food, beauty and medicine industries.

Modernising CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is the critical next step (having engaged more than 30 signatory countries to date).


Jeanette Pritchard’s book A Language of Hope has featured Donalea in Chapter 9, Shaping society – ripples of hope

Our work has been featured

You can purchase Jeanette’s book by clicking on the picture below. Our work has been featured

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

It is hard to believe that on World Wildlife Day, 3 March, it will be 3 years since we hosted #MelbourneCrush in central Melbourne, Australia’s first ivory and rhino horn crush event, to demonstrate that the only value ivory and rhino horn has is on a living animal.

A massive thank you to those of you who attended the crush, knowing the years of work in achieving this ban, announced by Environment Minister Sussan Ley in August 2019. And of course the people who have helped in the process along the way.

So what are the States and Territories waiting for? Australia is complicit in the current poaching crisis whilst we allow the domestic trade to continue.

I’m in the process of sending the following letter to MPs and Minsters and I welcome you to do so too (even if you’ve sent them an email recently, please keep the pressure on).

Don’t let our work go to waste. 

During the 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry, then Lisa Singh – Former Senator grilled social media platforms for allowing ivory and rhino horn to be sold online. They assured her that they were working to ensure animal body parts were banned.

Please use any of the pics (or email me for more) and email Environment Minister Sussan Ley as well as your local MP and your State or Territory Environment Minister.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley –
VIC – Lily D’Ambrosio MP
NSW –Matt Kean MP
SA – David Speirs MP
QLD – Meaghan Scanlon – Member for Gaven
NT – Eva Lawler MLA: Member for Drysdale
WA – Stephen Dawson MLC
TAS – Roger Jaensch MP

Dear Minister

It has been three years since For the Love of Wildlife Ltd hosted Australia’s first ivory and rhino horn crush event in Melbourne to demonstrate that Australia is complicit in the current poaching crisis whilst it allows the rampant, unregulated, domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

The #MelbourneCrush event, with enormous celebrity support, highlighted how many Australians want the trade in ivory and rhino horn banned (most thought it had already been done), giving an opportunity for people who had items (inherited, gifted or purchased) to be able to demonstrate that the only value is on a living animal.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

This event triggered a Parliamentary Inquiry to which we gave evidence, the final report recommending a full trade ban. In 2019, Australia (as a signatory) announced at CITES CoP 18 in Geneva that it would join other countries in closing the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

Given the time since the announcement, the trade is again reinvigorated with three posts (items of significant value) just in the last few weeks on Gumtree alone. Online trading platforms have stated they will stem the trade in wildlife products, yet despite contacting Gumtree there has been no response.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush
We are in a global extinction crisis and our inability to act swiftly does mean that traders are taking advantage of whatever opportunities are available.
I ask that you please elevate the urgency in implementing this trade ban so that we can fulfil our global obligations in preserving our most precious wildlife.

Please consider what you will tell your children when there are no elephants and rhinos? If we don’t stop the trade now, they will be gone within the next decade. The UK are now including a ban on a host of ivory including mammoth, whilst we haven’t moved in enacting the domestic trade ban.
I very much look forward to hearing how this can be enacted with a timeline for implementation.

If there’s anything further you require, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Donalea Patman OAM
Founding Director

A short video of one of our investigations

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

It is difficult to comprehend why a submission process was initiated given we are experiencing a global pandemic due to the trade in wildlife…to proceed with an undertaking to overturn a 25 year ban on the importation of birds.

Over the last 18 months (and more) we have been educating the government on how flawed the existing trade system is. A system that hasn’t been updated since the 70s, doesn’t integrate with customs, is mostly paper-based with loopholes you can drive a Mac truck through! And so why even entertain the idea of opening up trade?

The following is our submission as to why we say NO to overturning the ban.


Submission to address import risk for psittacine birds from all countries

Australia has previously permitted the importation of live psittacine birds. However, the policy was suspended in 1995 due to incomplete knowledge of certain diseases of psittacine birds and a lack of suitable methods for testing imported birds for the presence of these diseases.

This ban was enacted in 1995 for a good reason and now there’s overwhelming evidence and reason to keep this ban in place.

  • Pandemic due to the trade in wildlife
  • Legal trade monitoring system that is obsolete and needs modernisation
  • Extinction crisis, driven by over-exploitation for trade purposes
  • Lack of scientific, evidence-based information

Economies are shattered and people’s lives are severely impacted due to the current pandemic being experienced globally and it is attributed to the trade in wildlife. Australia should be commended for calling for global support to investigate the cause of the current virus but in the interim, why isn’t there a moratorium on trade in endangered species, in fact trade in all wildlife until the findings are released?

Whilst WHO investigates the world’s response to Covid-19, we must acknowledge that wet markets in China are just a microcosm of the ever-increasing trade in wildlife. The legal trade in wildlife is one of the most lucrative trades in the world and yet it is managed using a mostly paper-based permit system that hasn’t been updated since the 70’s.

Along with our collaborative partners Nature Needs More, we have met with Ministers, MPs and representatives in the Australian Government (as well as more than 30 signatory countries including the EU) in urgently addressing the flaws in the existing trade system. Modernising this system to deal with current trade volumes and conditions is critical in addressing the trade in psittacine birds.

Along with many other organisations and concerned citizens, we also provided overwhelming evidence at the Parliamentary Inquiry on Law Enforcement into the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn demonstrating flaws in the legal trade system under CITES and that currently there is no supply chain transparency. Similarly, there is no real-time trade analytics, so any responses to laundering and illegal activity, if it is picked up, is in the main too slow.

There is a desperate need to modernise the trade mechanism that is severely under-resourced, mostly paper-based, doesn’t integrate with customs and lacks traceability and trackability. Until the trade system has been updated (as a start eCITES BaseSolution created by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments) and rolled out globally, it would be detrimental for multiple reasons in entertaining overturning this ban.

The legal and illegal trade is so intertwined that they are functionally inseparable, to continue trade knowing this would be reckless.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

What is also alarming and has been raised with the CITES Secretariate is that source codes on permits are often designated as source code C (captive bred), when research shows that there is no evidence of any captive breeding facilities in the export countries documented. How can we be assured that imported birds aren’t wild caught?

CITES needs to be modernised to cope with the vastly increased volume of the legal trade and to close the loopholes used by the burgeoning illegal trade. This requires a three step approach:


Global roll out of electronic permitting at a cost of US$30 million for all 183 signatory countries before next CITES CoP in 2022

Until a global roll out of electronic permitting, additional trade in wildlife including vulnerable and endangered species should not be considered or granted license.

Whilst Australia does have an electronic permit system, its lack of interoperability or interaction with a global trade system such as eCITES BaseSolution, shows that it isn’t useful in regards to international trade. This was clearly demonstrated with the export of endangered birds from Western Australia to Germany (still under investigation). Even with Australia boasting its sophisticated electronic system, cockatoos were issued permits to be exported from Western Australia to an unscrupulous zoo in Germany with no evidence to clearly prove that the birds weren’t wild caught or that the destination was indeed a proper zoo. If we don’t have processes to alleviate illegally caught wild species, then how can we expect this from countries with no regulators or processes in place? If a global electronic, real-time permit system was in place, then a red flag would have been raised and permits would never have been issued.


Adopt reverse listing approach

In 1981 Australia proposed a reverse listing approach, understanding and exposing the inherent risks in the forming years of CITES. Given business works quarter by quarter and is always miles ahead in creating new markets, the glacially slow response by governments and conservation within the processes of CITES has seen trade grow exponentially. Trade is the 2nd biggest driver of extinction in terrestrial species and the biggest driver in marine species and a new listing approach is long overdue.

The proposal wasn’t accepted in 1981 when there were 700 species listed. Since then the listing has grown to 38,500 species (soon to be a million according to the IPBES Report published last year). Under a reverse listing approach the default position is no commercial trade and the burden of proof that trade is sustainable shifts from governments and NGOs to industry. This does not mean that industry will dictate the framework and criteria for what constitutes ‘ecologically sustainable use’ and what can be traded. Listings would still be subject to a vote at CoP, in line with current process.


Apply a levy on trade

Given the global trade in endangered species is worth US$320 billion a year, a 1-2% levy on trade would significantly help fund the under-resourced trade and enforcement process. In the first instance, a levy (or similar) on industry (importers, not exporters) to cover the cost of rolling out the electronic permit system globally and to create and maintain a real-time reporting system.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia


Zoonotic diseases have and continue to impact humans as demonstrated in the following diagram, but there’s worrying impact on other species. As an example, reported on the 27 August this year the slaughter of more than 340,000 layer hens, plus culling of emus and turkeys as there are three strains of bird flu active at the same time in the state of Victoria resulting in an expected loss of $18 – $23 million affecting six farms. This virus is reported to be particularly virulent and aggressive. Importing birds when it is clear there’s overwhelming fragility amongst avian populations only adds incredible pressure to the existing populations whether they be farmed or wild.

How can the government guarantee that imported birds won’t be released? Catastrophic for our wild species who are already under enormous pressure due to habitat loss, bushfires, weather events, poaching, etc. We are in an extinction event and it is reckless to continue the “business as usual” approach.

What is also requiring attention is the reporting of government and industry-employed ecologists and conservation scientists who have experienced undue modification of reports, blocks on releasing or discussing information in regards to the plight of threatened species. Can we trust that this review will be fair and reasonable or should we wait until there is a national independent watchdog?

Calling for submissions when there’s overwhelming evidence and sentiment for a trade ban given the current climate, is wasting valuable resources not only within the government but in calling on civil society, conservation groups and charities to yet again remind the government to apply the precautionary principle, given the devastating decline in so many species we’re witnessing a catastrophic freefall. We are in an extinction event and how can we alleviate the ever-increasing pressures on wildlife – lifting bans is not one of them.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

Many macaws, parrots and cockatoos are listed as endangered, with many extinct due to rapid rates of habitat loss, hunting and exotic pet trade and yet we are entertaining the possibility of reopening trade for psittacine birds…it is mind-blowing.


The commodification and consumption of wild species and the natural world has seen humans breach boundaries with devastating consequences, our lack of respect for nature is our own undoing, our ecology in desperate need of respite. If we cannot curb our consumption and the continued trade in every living thing, then it will be our own extinction if we cannot learn from this pandemic and the recent bushfires which have presented a very loud and clear warning.

At the recent 2020 High Level Political Forum all UN Member States recommitted to “protecting wildlife and other living species”, taking action to end cross-border trade in wildlife to be an effective first step towards delivering this commitment.

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm – World Lion Day


Dear lion lovers

We need your help with a tweet storm to make a clear and urgent statement to the South African Government. It will be late if you live in Australia, but use TweetDeck to schedule your tweets.
Or using any social media…but remember the hashtags #800Lions #WorldLionDay

PLEASE NOTE – Blood Lions will lead the storm so no tweeting beforehand!
Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion DayBlood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Content Plan for World Lion Day – 10th August 2020

800 Voices for 800 Lions


Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

This World Lion Day, Blood Lions and World Animal Protection have partnered to mobilise supporters and put pressure on the South African Government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota. Our goal is to create a people-powered campaign that will empower South Africans (primarily) to take action and tell the government that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the breeding and keeping of lions for commercial purposes is irresponsible and ecologically unsustainable. In addition, it damages South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputations.

The campaign title 800 Voices for 800 Lions aims to express through art the legal CITES export quota of 800 lion skeletons per year.

This campaign has three interlinked aspects that all aim towards urging the SA Government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota, and supporting the global call to end the trade in wildlife at the G20 Summit.

The campaign will include a Twitter storm planned on World Lion Day (10 August), which will directly pressurize the government by directing specific questions and posts at the various government accounts.



As part of the campaign, a short educational video will be released on World Lion Day explaining the lion bone trade, the current quota situation in SA and describing our call to action.

We will be calling on people from around the world to submit their artwork (be it drawing, painting, photography, poetry, dance, music) in a visual representation of the 800 lions, which are slaughtered for their bones every year.

The goal is to submit 800 pieces of art to the SA government in the lead up to the G20 Summit to urge them to decide against a legal trade in big cat bones and body parts.



This is where we need your help. The Twitter Storm aspect of this campaign aims to mobilise our conservation and global partners to pressurize the SA government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota. We invite you to be part of this movement. Please note relevant Twitter chat questions and answers, as well as direct tweets are provided below, starting on page 3.

It will consist of 1 hour of well organised pressure on World Lion Day itself, where we will be posing questions to the relevant government accounts, essentially filling their Twitter notifications and feed with the topic, but also creating a general awareness around the issues.

Date:  10 August 2020

Time:  15h00 – 16h00 [South Africa time] facilitated by @Blood_Lions

Main hashtags:  #WorldLionDay #800Lions

It is essential to include these hashtags in ALL tweets, so people can follow and/or get involved in the conversation. In addition, we are aiming to get these hashtags to trend on the day.

Graphics: The attached graphics can be used with some of the tweets and will give you the option to tag up to 10 twitter accounts over and above the 280 characters per tweet.


Accounts to tag:                      

@BarbaraCreecy_         –           Minister of DEFF

@environmentza          –           Department of Environment

@SouthAfrica               –           SA Tourism

@sisantshona               –           CEO of SA Tourism

@Tourism_gov_za        –           Department of Tourism

@mmKubayiNgubane   –           Minister of Tourism

@DAFF_ZA                   –           Department of Agriculture

@HealthZA                   –           Department of Health

@DrZweliMkhize          –           Minister of Health



Ahead of the World Lion Day Tweet storm, Blood Lions plans to release information to the public in the lead up to the event. Below is a loose plan that can be adopted in order to bring awareness to the Tweet storm before we go live:


Suggested Tweets:

On #WorldLionDay we will be participating in a Twitter chat to challenge South Africa’s lion bone export quota. Join us at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT as we ask @BarbaraCreecy_ & @environmentza to set a zero CITES lion bone quota and put a permanent ban on the trade in lions. #800Lions

Why does @SouthAfrica support an industry that damages its reputation? Join us on #WorldLionDay at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT as we pose these questions to Ministers of @GovernmentZA and ask @BarbaraCreecy_ to set a zero lion bone quota. #800Lions

Poor welfare conditions are a reality for lions in the commercial breeding industry. On #WorldLionDay, at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT we are asking the South African Government to set a zero lion bone quota and put a permanent ban on the trade of lions. #800lions

Suggested Facebook & Instagram posts:

On #WorldLionDay we will be participating in a Twitter chat to challenge South Africa’s lion bone export quota.

Join us at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT on Twitter as we pose a few questions and answers around the industry, and ask Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to set a zero CITES lion bone quota. #800Lions


– Blood Lions

– World Animal Protection Africa

– Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries



The following questions and answers can be used to start the conversation on World Lion Day at 15.00 hrs SAST. Blood Lions will lead by tweeting the questions at the indicated times below and everybody can retweet the main question, followed by the various answers. Please note – times below are SA time!

The following questions and answers can be tweeted verbatim at the indicated times. The number of characters should not exceed the max 280 – if they do our apologies 😉

Please don’t forget to include the question and answer number in the tweet and our main hashtags, so people can follow the conversation: #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Feel free to add ANY answers on the day and hopefully we get the public to interact and ask further probing questions to be answered in real time. Please try and engage with the public.


QUESTION 1 – 15.00 HRS SAST (11pm Melbourne)

Q1 – What are lion bones used for? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to supplement tiger bones in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat ailments like arthritis, rheumatism, general weakness and headaches, with no credible evidence for the efficacy of the vast majority of these remedies. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to produce “tiger bone” wine that is often sold as a prestigious gift or a non-financial bribe. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are also boiled down to a glue-like substance to create a so-called lion bone cake that is consumed as a medicine in tea or wine, supposedly as an aphrodisiac. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to make into jewellery with pink bones being the most sought after. Pink bones are marketed as having been created by deboning the animal alive. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – In addition to bones, lion teeth and claws are used to create expensive jewellery. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

@DrZweliMkhize How can you indirectly support the export of lion bones from South Africa and back a form of medicine without credible or scientific proof it effectively cures ANY ailments? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

With scientific evidence of lions carrying zoonotic diseases, and with the world brought to its knees by #COVID19, is it ethical for @DrZweliMkhize and @BarbaraCreecy_ to allow the export of lion bones to continue? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

We treat our farm animals better than our iconic #lion. Makeshift lion slaughterhouses kill and process 100s of lions every year without any form of regulation and in the absence of welfare standards. @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 2 – 15.10 HRS SAST (11.10pm Melbourne)

Q2 – Where are lion bones exported to? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – The vast majority of exported lion skeletons (98%) are destined for Laos and Vietnam, which are known hubs for illegal wildlife trafficking, including ivory, rhino horn and pangolin. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – Lion bones may be legally exported to Laos and Vietnam, but are subsequently redistributed and mostly sold illegally to e.g. China and Thailand. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – The trade in lion bones legitimises the product among consumers in SE Asia and stimulates the demand for lion and tiger bones, compromising local enforcement efforts regarding the tiger trade. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – Lion bones are sold to SE Asia to supplement the tiger bone trade, keeping the desirability of tiger products alive, which is a huge problem for tiger conservation. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

The legal lion bone trade is damaging Brand SA. With tourism brought to a standstill by #COVID19, what are you planning to do to repair the damage of this abhorrent industry? @GoToSouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @mmKubayiNgubane #WorldLionDay #800Lions

@BarbaraCreecy_ What is the conservation value of the lion bone trade? What benefits does this trade provide this endangered species? #WorldLionDay #800lions

It is widely acknowledged that the illegal wildlife trade, involving notorious international crime syndicates, follows legal wildlife trade routes. Does South Africa enable the illegal trade in lion bones, @BarbaraCreecy_? #WorldLionDay #800lions


QUESTION 3 – 15.20 HRS SAST (11.20pm Melbourne)

Q3 – How many skeletons is South Africa able to export per year? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – South Africa has set a lion bone quota of 800 skeletons per year in 2017 & 2018, which lacked a sound scientific basis and was driven solely by the economic principle of supply and demand. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – More than TWO lions per DAY are slaughtered legally for their bones for Traditional Chinese Medicine. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – South Africa is able to set any lion bone quota, as long as the skeletons originate from the captive lion population. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – It is believed that South African lion breeders produce more lion skeletons than the set quota and have built up lion bone stockpiles. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – Even though the lion bone trade is perceived to be a “by-product” of the trophy hunting industry, 90% of all exported skeletons include the skulls, indicating that many facilities breed purely to supply the bone trade. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

As @environmentza has been unable to set a lion bone export quota in 2019 & 2020, isn’t it time to make this “zero quota” permanent, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Considering the current #COVID19 pandemic and the potential for further zoonotic disease spill-over from the captive predator breeding industry, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_ isn’t it time to put an end to this industry? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Considering the damage the #COVID19 pandemic has brought on the tourism industry, shouldn’t we avoid ANY reputational damage to Brand SA from the captive predator breeding industry, Minister @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za ? #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 4 – 15.30 HRS SAST (11.30pm Melbourne)

Q4 – What does the lion bone trade mean in terms of animal welfare? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – The intensive captive breeding and keeping of lions creates serious welfare concerns, especially when only their bones are used, so there is no incentive to keep them healthy. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – With the increasing profit-driven commodification of lion products, in many cases even the most basic needs, such as water, food, shelter and medical care, are lacking. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – Pop-up lion slaughterhouses have been established to facilitate the mass slaughter of lions to supply skeletons for international trade with no regulations in place, thus creating a range of welfare concerns. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – Captive wildlife populations are at risk from disease, especially when these populations are kept in small and overcrowded enclosures, increasing the risk of zoonosis, such as lion TB. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – @environmentza has repeatedly stated that welfare of wild animals in captivity is not their mandate, and that this falls under the ambit of @DAFF_ZA. In turn, DALRRD passes the buck to the provincial authorities. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

How is Minister @BarbaraCreecy_ planning to improve the welfare of South Africa’s captive lions, in line with Judge Kollapen’s ruling that the setting of the lion bone quota in 2017 & 2018 is “unlawful and constitutionally invalid” #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Minister Didiza, when is the Department of Agriculture @DAFF_ZA going to create norms and standards for the captive breeding and keeping of big cats in South Africa? Your Department has been working on this since 2016. @BarbaraCreecy_ #WorldLionDay #800Lions

How can South Africa allow the welfare atrocities linked to the captive lion breeding industry to continue? @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @environmentza ? #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 5 – 15.40 HRS SAST (11.40pm Melbourne)

Q5 – Why is South Africa able to set a legal lion bone quota through CITES? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In 2016, at @CITES CoP17 an annotation was agreed to Panthera leo Appendix II. Although a zero quota remains for wild lions, an annual quota derived from the captive lion population in South Africa is now allowed. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In addition to lion bones, South Africa is also allowed to export bone products, claws, skulls and teeth from the captive lion population. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In August 2019, in the High Court case NSPCA vs DEA and SAPA, Judge Kollapen ruled that the setting of the lion bone quota in 2017 & 2018 is “unlawful and constitutionally invalid”. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – Judge Kollapen stated that “….it is inconceivable that the State Respondents could have ignored welfare considerations of lions in captivity in setting the annual export quota.” #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

@BarbaraCreecy_ what factors were taken into account before the lion bone CITES quotas were historically set? And how is this going to change? #WorldLionDay #800lions

Have any lion bones been exported in 2019/2020 by South Africa, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_? If so, how is this possible without a quota in place? @environmentza #WorldLionDay #800lions

How can South Africa allow a commercial trade that reduces its iconic #lion species to body parts sold off as TCM, décor, rugs, jewellery and other trinkets? @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @environmentza #WorldLionDay #800Lions



These can be used by the youth WAP will engage with to push the conversation further.

An official number of 8,000, but most likely 10,000–12,000 lions are kept in captivity in South Africa. This is 3–4 times more lions than exist in the wild in SA. If nothing is done soon, lions in the wild could go extinct by 2050. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Strength. Courage. Resilience. Traits we can learn from lions. Unfortunately, the wildlife trade has reduced them to victims of adversity. We are asking the South African government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Between 1993–2014, lion numbers in Africa have dropped 43%. Poaching of wild lions for their body parts is one of the major threats to wild lion populations. Join us to urge the South African government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota #WorldLionDay #800Lions

The South African lion bone export quota was #800Lions per year. That is more than 2 lions killed every day for the legal trade in their bones. We urge @BarbaraCreecy_ to set a permanent zero export quota. @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za #WorldLionDay #800Lions

The global trade of wild animals, such as lions is cruel and puts public health and the world economy at risk, like COVID-19. Join us in calling on South Africa to support and champion a global ban on the wildlife trade #EndWildlifeTrade via @MoveTheWorldAF

Imagine being in lockdown for life, simply to be killed for profit. That is the everyday reality for South Africa’s captive lions. We are asking South Africa to move to a zero lion bone quota. @BarbaraCreecy_ @environmentza @DAFF_ZA @DrZweliMkhize #WorldLionDay #800Lions

This #WorldLionDay, be the voice for our lions and take action. Together we can move South Africa’s leaders to set a zero lion bone export quota. @BarbaraCreecy_ @environmentza @DAFF_ZA @DrZweliMkhize @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za #800Lions


Images you can use.

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion DayBlood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day


Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Attending CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna) CoP18 in Geneva in August, along with Nature Needs More we were excited to attend the side event featuring  eCITES BaseSolution electronic permitting which has been developed by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Government, with Sri Lanka the first country to implement and trial.

Honoured to be invited to attend the launch of eCITES in Sri Lanka in October 2019 by Minister for Tourism and Wildlife, Hon John Amaratunga. Also attending the launch was the Australian High Commissioner, Victoria Coakley who was incredibly impressed with the presentation and wished to assist with global implementation.

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Launch of eCITES Base Solution electronic permitting in Sri Lanka

Now that the system has been implemented, we’re focused on a global roll out before the next CoP which is scheduled to be held in Costa Rica in 2022. We’ve been assured that training and implementation can take between 6-12 weeks, which makes this absolutely doable to meet that deadline. The cost is US$150,000 per country – US$30 million for all 183 signatory countries.

The timing is critical given the pandemic we’re experiencing and the ongoing evidence that supports global action given that:

  1. 2019 report (IPBES) confirmed direct exploitation for trade is the second biggest threat to species survival.
  2. Since CITES came into force in 1975, the convention itself has had only one review and that was in 1994. Any business or industry that doesn’t reflect on how it needs to evolve to adapt to the changing, external conditions would undoubtedly become ineffective (if in fact it managed to survive).
  3. It has not been modernised since the 1970s, almost all CITES parties still use a paper-based system that doesn’t integrate with customs. There is no traceability of shipments from source to destination
  4. Without traceability and transparency, there is no proof of sustainability and the sustainable-use model is the basis for the legal trade.
  5. In a world where big data rules, no major steps have been taken to digitise the trade in endangered species.
  6. When the legal trade was estimated to be worth US$320 billion as far back as 2012 and it would cost only US$30 million to roll out an electronic system to all 183 CITES signatory parties, why hasn’t this been done – it has been talked about for nearly a decade.

Our work was featured by Africa Geographic.

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

The following blog by Lynn Johnson, Nature Needs More (see original by clicking here)


Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

No one can really predict how the world will look after the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you could write one email that had the potential to help change the world for the better, would you do it?

Recent weeks have made it clear how much we are all connected and that we are all in this together. With the panic buying of toilet paper, it has also highlighted many societies have become a too self-absorbed – pardon the pun! We are certainly at a unique point in our collective history. While we are in a time of social-distancing, self-isolation or even quarantine, how can we use this to let our respective governments know that we expect to emerge from this global crisis with a better and fairer world? And that fairness needs to extend wildlife and the natural world.

Until now, many of us have been caught up in the day-to-day noise, but now the noise is going or has gone; we have time to think and some of us have time to do some really useful stuff!

While I know many people are struggling with their daily survival and others, sadly, will be dealing with the death or illness of loved ones. For many, self-distancing and quarantine are leaving us with time on our hands, and possibly cabin fever – Jamie’s quarantine day 6 did make me smile.

For those of you who would like to use this time to make a difference for wildlife, Donalea Patman of For the Love of Wildlife (Nature Needs More’s collaborative partner on the CITES modernisation project) and I are inviting you to join us; together we can make a real difference for wildlife, if enough of people around the world are happy to write just one email. We would both love to say that COVID-19 will trigger a change in the world that means the legal (and illegal) wildlife trade would be closed permanently; our preference would be a world were wildlife is protected and not traded. But we know that once we are out of the health crisis businesses around the world will lobby their governments to re-open the legal trade and in all likelihood governments will comply with their wishes, on the basis that they need to quickly rebuild the economy.

So we have to be pragmatic.

In 2018, after years of researching and working on the demand for illegal wildlife ‘products’, For the Love of Wildlife and Nature Needs More came to the conclusion that the illegal trade can not be tackled until the loopholes in the legal trade in endangered species are closed. CITES needs modernising to cope with current trade volumes. COVID-19 is a result of both the legal and illegal trade in wildlife; the lack of questioning of the sustainable-use model and the opaque system facilitating international trade means that that before the pandemic precious little was known about China’s 22,000 legal captive breeding facilities. But China is just a microcosm of the world; the legal trade has been encouraged and allowed to flourish, unchecked, worldwide.

Business doesn’t like the idea of transparency, opaqueness in their operations allows plausible deniability and means it is difficult for them to be held to account for bad behaviour. Decades of highly successful campaigning has convinced too many in our societies that any regulation is inherently bad for the economy. The result is decades of under-investment in modernising the global systems that manage transparency, and just one of those systems is the one that manages the legal trade in endangered species, CITES. We are now paying for this with COVID-19, but wildlife and the natural world has paid for this because for too long, too few have recognized that they are being legally traded to extinction.

Help us to modernise the CITES system, which facilitates the legal trade in endangered species. Send an email to your MP or political representative to let them know that you want the system that manages the legal trade in species to be modernised to an electronic permit system, which is fully integrated with customs, to ensure traceability from source to destination. This long overdue, particularly since the current, archaic system makes it easy to launder of illegal items into the legal marketplace and impossible to address biosecurity risks.

We have written the email (below) and all you have to do is copy and paste it into an email to your email to your MP or political representative. If you are unsure if your country is a signatory to CITES follow the link, for a list of all the 183 CITES signatory parties. For those in Europe, don’t forget to also write to the European Parliament, which plays a key role in the legal trade of endangered species within the EU. We hope that you will join us, by writing this one email you can make a huge difference for both people and wildlife.

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

Lynn Johnson of Nature Needs More and Donalea Patman, For the Love of Wildlife

We know that this email is a long and technical, but we don’t want to give your MP any wriggle room! The email states clearly: what you want, the time-frame for action and your expected response.

Copy and paste the following and email your local MP, both State and Federal. When you received a response (not the first automated reply) please forward to



The current unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has brought the dangers of the legal breeding, trading and consumption of exotic wildlife into stark focus. In this, China is just a microcosm of the world, similar wildlife breeding facilities and markets exist in many countries, including throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. The legal trade in exotic wildlife is both global and massive. The reason we do not know the exact origin of the novel coronavirus is because this trade is poorly regulated and largely unmonitored, putting populations across the globe at continued risk of zoonotic diseases. Unless we change this state of affairs, the next pandemic is a virtual certainty.

Epidemiologists and immunologists have continued to ramp up their research over the last two decades with the expectation of the increasing risks of zoonotic diseases. Paradoxically, over the same timeframe, the legal trade in exotic species has been encouraged and supported to grow, increasing the probability of an outbreak even further.  

Attention may now be on China, but it is the global business and trade community that has shown no leadership in modernising the system that facilitates and monitors this worldwide legal trade in endangered species – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Given no leadership has been shown at the international level, it is no surprise that individual countries and national governments have not invested in modernising domestic systems and legislation.   

In response to COVID-19 many governments are likely to put in place better domestic regulations to handle the obvious biosecurity risks, but this is insufficient if we don’t address the global trade component. The primary purpose of CITES is to ensure that the international legal trade in endangered wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, but it is also the only vehicle to address the issues of traceability, risk management, monitoring and shutting down the illegal trade.

In this respect, I was shocked to hear that the CITES system has not been modernised since it entered into force in 1975. A 1970s paper-based system is still used to facilitate and monitor the international legal trade in endangered species. Decades of under-investment are at odds with the value of the legal trade, estimated to be over US$320 Billion annually. Upgrading the CITES legal trade platform to a modern, digital, real-time system has been discussed for a decade, but almost no progress has been made. There now can be NO excuse for the international community or any individual country to maintain this obsolete legal trade monitoring and management system.

The transition to an electronic permit system, which is fully integrated with customs, to ensure traceability from source to destination, is long overdue, particularly since this archaic system makes it easy to launder of illegal items into the legal marketplace and impossible to address biosecurity risks. Therefore, it is critical that any electronic permit system is secure and trustworthy.

What make this lack of progress even more shocking is that a system has been designed, the eCITES BaseSolution, developed jointly between CITES, UNCTAD and with the support of the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments and it is ready for global rollout. Yet, to-date, Sri Lanka is the only CITES signatory country to implement this system and this needs to change. At a cost of US$150,000 per country, this is loose change compared to the global economic crisis set in train by COVID-19 (setting aside the tragic loss of life). 

Rolling out the eCITES BaseSolution over all 183 CITES signatory parties will cost US$30 Million in total and technical it only takes 6-12 weeks to implement this system in each country; the world just needs the political will to do this.  For a legal trade worth over US$320 Billion annually, these roll-out costs are minimal.

Wealthy countries should make it part of their COVD-19 response to provide the funding for developing countries to implement electronic permitting. Such donations can be made via the World Bank’s Global Wildlife Program with the stipulation it is for the immediate roll-out of the eCITES BaseSolution to help minimise the risk of zoonotic diseases in the future.  

The handful of countries that have already implemented a domestic electronic permitting system need to demonstrate that their systems are secure, trustworthy. They also need to commit to covering the costs of interoperability with the eCITES BaseSolution as this system incorporates species names, appendix listings, units and classifications in accordance with CITES rules and can be centrally updated, ensuring consistency in global electronic permit exchange.

It seems absurd that decades of funds and research have gone in to preparing for a response to increased risks of zoonotic diseases, yet in the age of big data and instant global communication, CITES really does operate in a way unchanged from the 1970s; this must be immediately addressed.  Modernising the CITES legal trade permit and management system will make supply chains more transparent and helps to address the biosecurity risks inherent in any trade in exotic wildlife.

As my local MP/representative, I request that you seek support from our government and the responsible department, to implement, as a minimum, the eCITES BaseSolution not only in our own country, but across all CITES signatory parties by the next CITES Conference of the Parties, held in Costa Rica in 2022. Similarly, I ask that our government pushes for interoperability and electronic permit exchange to ensure real-time trackability from source to destination in this international, legal trade system.

I understand that there is a CITES Standing Committee meeting (CITES SC73) scheduled for late 2020. My request is that our government joins forces with other governments around the world to ensure the appropriate submissions are made to CITES SC73 for a resolution such that, as a minimum, the eCITES BaseSolution is rolled out cross all CITES signatory parties by CoP19 in Costa Rica in 2022.  

I look forward to a response addressing the precise points raised in this email. Please note, I am interested in a ‘real’ response to the specific issues outlined; I am not interested in a response consisting of banal statements about the government’s current commitment to tackling the illegal wildlife trade or following all its CITES signatory obligations. The COVID-19 global crisis shows a business as usual approach is not possible or acceptable. 

Yours sincerely


Let us know what response you receive and email


We need you to be magnificent

We need you to be magnificent


We need you to be magnificent