Wildlife & Biodiversity

CMS COP14 ends in Samarkand; proposals listing 14 migratory species adopted

Countries join hands to protect migratory species in range states, assist migration and maintain populations  

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Saturday 17 February 2024
Photo: @ecogov_uz / X

The Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 14) concluded on February 17, 2024, with parties agreeing to adopt listing proposals for 14 migratory species and several other resolutions for global wildlife.

The 14 species are Eurasian lynx, Peruvian pelican, Pallas’s cat, guanaco, Laulao catfish, Balkan lynx, Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise, Magellanic plover, bearded vulture, Blackchin guitarfish, Bull ray, Lusitanian cownose ray and Gilded catfish.

The proposals for amendment of CMS Appendices I and II were discussed and recommended by the Committee of the Whole (COW) or countries for adoption.

The proposal to include the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx balcanicus) in Appendix II of the Convention was made by North Macedonia, on the basis of European Lynx populations being fragmented and threatened. The protection efforts aim to maintain existing populations and improve connectivity among them for effective migrations by removal of barriers.

Cooperation between range states would contribute to improving the lynx’s status, address threats, help conduct research and build capacity for monitoring and conservation activities, it was argued. Albania and Turkmenistan supported the proposal and recommended it for adoption.

The COP14 also adopted a proposal made by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for including Pallas’s cat (Felis manul) in Appendix II of the Convention.

The species is rare and in strong decline, the Parties said. They added that many populations were transboundary and home ranges covered long distances, posing numerous threats such as habitat degradation. The COW noted that 20 per cent of Pallas’s Cat range was covered under the Central Asian Mammals Initiative area and listing it in Appendix II would increase conservation efforts.

The COW also recommended a proposal to include the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) in Appendix II of the Convention for adoption. Chile introduced the document, pointing out that the camelid species living in the arid and semi-arid regions of South America had fragmented distribution and its isolated populations were threatened.

It noted that migratory movements for the species were important within populations and are hindered by human activities and barriers such as fencing, oil and gas development and mining.

Including the guanaco in Appendix II was proposed to safeguard its habitat, restore populations and maintain connections between populations.

Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay supported the proposal for the camelid, which has suffered major decline. They also urged addressing the issue of illegal trade in the guanaco.

CMS COP14 also saw the adoption of a proposal recommending the inclusion of Lahille’s bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus) in both the appendices of the Convention. The proposal to conserve the estimated 600 individuals of the subspecies was made by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The dolphin is endemic to the coastal waters of these countries.

Considering its marked decline in the Rio de la Plata estuary, the species was listed as ‘Vulnerable’ and ‘Endangered’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List in the range countries.

“Brazil noted that it was working on bycatch issues, but that population decline would only be halted by cooperation between all Range States, which would be enhanced by adoption of this proposal,” the COP statement noted.

The COW also recommended adopting a proposal for inclusion of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in Appendix I of the Convention.

The proposal was made by the European Union for including the ‘Baltic Proper’ population of the species. Threats of bycatch and contaminants threaten about 500 individuals in nine countries. Underwater noise, causing displacement and behavioural impacts, was also noted as a threat.

A proposal to include the Peruvian pelican (Pelecanus thagus) in Appendix I and II of the Convention was recommended by the COW for adoption by the COP.

The pelican was listed jointly by Chile, Ecuador and Panama to be included in Appendix I and II. The bird plays a significant role in ecosystem function by contributing to trophic flows.

“El Niño patterns greatly influence its prey and movements, hence promoting movements of birds from Peru to Ecuador and other countries. With a significantly decreased population, and threats including bycatch and disease the species was classified as CR (Critically Endangered). Listing on CMS Appendix I and II would improve its status and lend support for protection of its coastal habitats,” the discussions noted.

The other proposal which saw recommendation for adoption was to include the Magellanic plover (Pluvianellus socialis) in Appendix I of the Convention.

The proposal was tabled by Chile and Argentina. Brazil and Peru supported it. The plovers are limited to southern South America, with an estimated population of about 1,500 and 1,700 individuals. The population is as low as 500 in some areas.

The COP also saw proposals for including bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis) in Appendix I, Blackchin guitarfish (Glaucostegus cemiculus) in Appendix II and the Mediterranean Sea population of this species in Appendix I of the Convention.

There was also a proposal to include the bull ray (Aetomylaeus bovinus) in Appendix II and the Mediterranean Sea population of this species in Appendix I of the Convention. 

Among other proposals, those to include Lusitanian cownose ray (Rhinoptera marginata) in Appendix II and the Mediterranean Sea population of this species in Appendix I, Gilded catfish (Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii) in Appendix II and Laulao catfish or Piramuta (Brachyplatystoma vaillantii) in Appendix II of the Convention were recommended for adoption.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.