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Cites bans export of live-caught African elephants to zoos
African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana are currently listed on Appendix II of Cites.
Near-total ban agreed after days of discussions 

Governments have voted to ban the export of wild, live-caught elephants from Africa to zoos around the world, apart from in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

This is following a long and intense week of discussions at the 18th Cites meeting in Geneva.

African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana are currently listed on Appendix II of Cites, with an annotation that allows live elephants to be exported to ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’.
Under this definition, live baby African elephants have been captured from the wild for transport to zoos in China and elsewhere.

From 2012, more than 100 elephant calves were sent from Zimbabwe to Chinese zoos.

The EU originally opposed the ban but eventually changed its vote after intensive negotiations, resulting in a change to the wording. Exports will now be allowed, only in exceptional circumstances, if approved by the Cites Animal Committee and IUCN specialist group.

Eventually, the ban was passed with 87 votes to 29, with 25 abstentions.

Wildlife director Audrey Delsink, of Humane Society International/Africa, described the decision as “momentous”.

She added: “Public sentiment is shifting, and people are increasingly outraged at the senseless and cruel practice of snatching baby elephants from the wild to live a life as a zoo exhibit…

“The definition of what is an appropriate destination is key, and the independent oversight by elephant specialists is critical, and so we will remain vigilant as that discussion develops, and fight against any attempts to justify or prolong trade in live baby elephants for captive purposes.”

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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.

Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.