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Parliamentary questions
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29 May 2017
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-002379/2017

The Commission is aware of the questions and concerns surrounding international trade in lion bones. The issue has been addressed for the first time in the context of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) at its last Conference of the Parties (CoP) in 2016(1).

At this meeting, CITES Parties decided that no international trade for commercial purposes should be authorised for lion bones from wild animals and that South Africa should establish an export quota for export of lion bones from captive-bred lions.

The Commission has been discussing this question with the relevant South African authorities as part of its regular dialogue on environmental issues. The South African authorities are currently working on the establishment of a quota, as agreed at the last CITES CoP, as well as on a traceability system which should allow to make sure that lion bones are not mislabelled as tiger bones or used as a cover for trade in tiger bones.

In addition, at the CITES CoP, the CITES Secretariat was directed to ‘undertake studies on legal and illegal trade in lions, including lion bones and other parts and derivatives, to ascertain the origin and smuggling routes, in collaboration with TRAFFIC and/or other relevant organisations(2)’. The Secretariat will report to the CITES Standing Committee on this matter and the Commission will follow this question closely at the upcoming meetings of the Standing Committee in 2017 and 2018.

(2)Cf https://cites.org/eng/dec/valid17/81883

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