The international wildlife trade, worth billions of dollars annually, has caused massive declines in the numbers of many species of animals and plants. The scale of
over-exploitation for trade aroused such concern for the survival of species that an international treaty was drawn up in 1973 to protect wildlife against such
over-exploitation and to prevent international trade from threatening species with extinction.
Known as CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, entered into force on 1 July 1975 and now has a
membership of 145 countries. These countries act by banning commercial international trade in an agreed list of endangered species and by regulating and monitoring
trade in others that might become endangered.