AZA News Releases

AZA Statement on CITES COP18 Doc. 44.2

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties (COP), the delegates adopted a policy that would restrict the movement of elephants out of four African countries.

In response to the adoption of this policy, Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA, (who led the U.S. delegations to CITES CoP16 and CoP17) issued the following statement:

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) supports and commends the position of the U.S. Government in opposing CoP18 Doc. 44.2.  CoP18 Doc. 44.1, creating a deliberate, evidence-based,  process to determine appropriate and acceptable destinations for live elephants, was adopted by consensus after considerable amount of work by the CITES Animals Committee and CITES Standing Committee, involving both Parties and NGOs.   

AZA believes that the process created by CoP 18 Doc. 44.1 is wholly consistent with the purpose of this treaty, and should have been given time to be implemented. CoP18 Doc. 44.2 places Appendix II elephants under more stringent regulation than those listed under Appendix I, and therefore, essentially penalizes nations where elephant populations are in relatively better status.  This runs counter to the treaty’s intent and historical practice, and undermines it.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and ten other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

Posted by Ashley Jones at 8:00 AM

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