US joins countries in agreeing to regulate giraffe trade

US joins countries in agreeing to regulate giraffe trade
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Countries from around the world, including the United States, agreed Thursday to regulate the giraffe trade in an effort to protect the species.

The measure approved at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requires the countries to issue export permits ensuring any giraffe hide or bones are legally acquired and that the trade is not detrimental to the survival of wild giraffes. The multilateral trade agreement will regulate and track, but not halt or prohibit, trade in giraffes and hunting trophies.

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“The CITES Parties have recognized that uncontrolled trade could threaten giraffe survival. Thanks to today’s decision, the international trade in giraffe parts — which includes rugs and bone carvings — will be tracked in a manner that allows us to focus on problem trends in destructive trade, and fight for additional protections if necessary,” Elly Pepper with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in a statement.

The U.S. is supporting the measure just weeks after the Trump administration rolled back its own protections for endangered species.

A position paper from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said “regulation of trade in the species is required” in order to maintain the wild giraffe population.

Conservation groups have been pushing the administration to add giraffes to the U.S. endangered species list, and the FWS is currently considering whether to add them following a petition and lawsuit from the NRDC and other groups.