CITES is short for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora. It is an agreement between governments to make sure that the international trade in wild specimen in wild animals and plants will not threaten their survival in the wild.

Annually, the trade in wildlife products is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and includes millions of species of plants and animals. The trade in wildlife products helps bring many species to the brink of extinction.

Some species regulated under CITES are not endangered, but to prevent them from becoming so, it is still deemed necessary to have an agreement to ensure sustainability use of these recourses for the future.

All species that are covered by the CITES convention have to be authorized through a licensing system when they are imported, exported, re-exported or introduced into another country.

Each party of the convention must designate at least one management authority that has to administrate the licensing system and that also needs access to scientific authorities for advice on the effects of trade on the status of the species.

CITES has listed species in three different "appendixes". These three are:

Appendix Description
1 Species that are threatened with extinction; trade or trafficking in these species is only possible in exceptional circumstances.
2 Species that are not necessarily threatened, but to avoid unsustainable use that is incompatible with their survival, trade must be controlled.
3 This appendix concerns species that are threatened in at least one country which has asked other CITES parties for assistance in controlling the trade. Each of these parties is entitled to make unilateral amendments to the measures applied to these species.

For detailed information see