Despite 20 hours flight time, I have plenty of energy and I'm eager to get down to business at CITES. Arrived in Bangkok at 5:30 a.m., took a taxi to the hotel, showered and headed over to the Convention Center. Outside the entrance to the center, dozens of local activists holding banners and placards spotlighted the trade in captive elephants and tigers. “Animals have rights,” said their leader,” Susie Camaham. “Animals have rights!” There was less action in the Convention Center. Delegates and NGOs were being ‘credentialed’ throughout the morning, and there were regional meetings (Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania) and strategy sessions. Plus side events ranging from the illegal trade in great apes and rhinos to frog legs, and geckos.
I also met briefly with Pew, Species Survival Network, and Dr. Ross McEwing of Trace (Wildlife Forensic Network). Although DNA testing to confirm species in cases against wildlife traffickers, Ross said the chain of evidence has to be maintained in order to win in court.
From the talk on the floor today, the big issues will be the illicit ivory trafficking, ‘Introduction from the Sea, and sharks. We will aim high and push hard.