About 5,000 animal species and 29,000 plant species are protected by CITES against the overexploitation of international trade. Each protected species or population is listed on one of three lists designated as appendices (explained below). The appendix, which lists a species or population, reflects the magnitude of the threat to it and the controls that apply to trade. Nevertheless, some say that regulation is an important first step. Before the existence of CITES, international wildlife trade was largely a prince – while some countries were trying to restrict trade in endangered species, illegally exported products could be legally imported into many countries. After forty years, CITES remains one of the cornerstones of international preservation. There are 183 member parties and trade is regulated in more than 35,000 species. Representatives of CITES states meet every two to three years at a conference of the parties to review progress and adapt lists of protected species, divided into three categories of different levels of protection: the power of CITES lies in the fact that it links international law. The power of CITES lies in the fact that it binds international law. Despite this, non-compliance is widespread. First, countries cannot regularly use data on the number of seizures or transactions they make each year. In 2010, for example, China reported importing 130 ivory “sculptures,” 40 elephant feet, 99 pound countercars and zero trophies from Zimbabwe, all under the so-called “personal” label. However, data from Zimbabwe`s exports to China over the same period told a very different story: 2,512 ivory carvings, eight elephant feet, four trophies and 41 counterattacks.
When commercial data is entered into the database, these glaring inconsistencies are often the norm. For many years, CITES, which currently has 183 parties, has been part of the conservation agreements with the largest number of members. As the exchange of wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the regime requires international cooperation to protect certain species from overfishing.