Environmental Conservation

Comment

Elephant populations and CITES trade resolutions

RUDI J. VAN AARDEa1 and SAM M. FERREIRAa1

a1 Conservation Ecology Research Unit, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa e-mail: rjvaarde@zoology.up.ac.za

SUMMARY

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) relies on the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) and Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme (MIKE) monitoring systems and trends in elephant numbers and the illegal killing of elephants to put resolutions forward to the Conference of Parties. Imprecision in elephant estimates and trends, as well as the spatial reality of elephant dynamics constrain CITES resolutions. Clusters of populations should instead serve as management units and demographic profiling predicting future population trends may complement existing approaches to inform CITES decisions.