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Turtles and see-through frogs on agenda at wildlife summit

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A global wildlife summit in Panama will decide whether to take measures to protect the translucent glass frog and 12 types of freshwater turtles in its final week, which kicked off Monday.

Conservation experts and delegates from more than 180 nations began the week with a decision to maintain a ban on the trade of white rhinoceros horn, despite a request from Eswatini that was backed by Japan and several other African countries.

Delegates began meeting last Monday to discuss 52 proposals to modify protection levels set by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“Freshwater turtles are among the main groups that are trafficked in the countries, and there is high pressure for international trade,” said Yovana Murillo, who heads a program against wildlife trafficking for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

Doris Rodrigues of Peru’s forestry service told AFP that the striking matamata turtles, with their beetle-like appearance, have become sought-after pets and “face many threats.”

– Glass frog –

The amphibian is an increasingly popular pet. Some are a lime green color, while others have translucent bellies and chests. 

CITES, in force since 1975, regulates trade in some 36,000 species of plants and animals and provides mechanisms to help crack down on illegal trade. It sanctions countries that break the rules.

On Friday, delegates rejected a request by Zimbabwe to allow the ivory trade to resume in some southern African countries, a decision lauded by conservation NGOs. 

The conference has seen fierce debate over the vaquita, a species of porpoise that lives in Mexico’s Gulf of California and is at risk of extinction.

Washington has argued that its neighbor is not doing enough to protect the world’s most endangered marine animal, while Mexico countered that it had boosted naval surveillance in the Gulf.

“This is a positive story about the recovery of a species,” highlighted the president of the committee which approved the move, Britain’s Vincent Fleming.

Story Credit: news.com.au

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