All of the animal and plant species protected by CITES, approximately 5,000 animals and 30,000 plants, are set out in three lists or appendices.
These appendices determine whether or not international trade is permitted and under what conditions, based on the seriousness of their risk of extinction from this trade.
For more details, consult the international website www.cites.org.
Note: this website is only available in French and English.
The most endangered species are listed in Appendix I.
This appendix offers species the greatest protection. It concerns species such as: the great apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, orang-utan, etc.), the tiger, the ara macao, the peregrine falcon, seal turtles, Rio rosewood, etc.
Appendices II and III list the species that are not threatened with extinction for the time being or that are protected by certain Parties (countries acceding to the Convention). They concern, for example, species such as lions, the polar bear, marmosets, orchids, cacti and other parrots not already featuring in Appendix I, as well as seahorses and corals.
Even more ambitious European legislation
The European Union legislation (Regulation 338/97) is even more ambitious than that of CITES.
In general, there are two key differences between CITES (international level) and the European regulation that implements it:
The first concerns the classification of the species.
The species included in CITES, as well as other non-CITES species that the European Commission wishes to protect, are divided into four EU Annexes: A, B, C and D (rather than three Appendices for CITES).
- Annex A of the EU regulation includes all CITES Appendix I species as well as any species (listed in Appendix II and III or non-CITES species) that is or may be traded in the European Union or internationally and that is either threatened with extinction, or is so rare that any trade would jeopardise its survival. The European species protected both by CITES and by European legislation (Directive 79/409 on the conservation of wild birds (BD) and “Habitats” Directive 92/43 (HD)) are automatically listed in this Annex.
- Annex B of the EU regulation includes the CITES Appendix II species not included in Annex A, to which it adds other species that the European Union treats as if they belonged to Appendix II. Moreover, certain species that constitute environmental threats (invasive species) may be listed in this Annex.
- Annex C of the EU regulation includes CITES Appendix III species and non-CITES species that are not already included in Annex A or in Annex B.
- Annex D of the EU regulation primarily includes species not listed in the CITES Appendices, but for which the European Union wishes to monitor the import flows to the different countries of the European Union. If these trade flows prove to be very significant, this may lead the Community to subsequently list these species in an Annex in which they will receive a higher degree of protection.
The second difference concerns the requirement of an import permit for Appendix II species coming from a third country (outside the European Union) to a Member State of the European Union.
To find the annex to which a species belongs:
The website www.speciesplus.net allows to look up the protection level of a species when the scientific name is known.