CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) is a voluntary agreement between international governments to protect wild plants and animals from being traded internationally in ways that threaten their survival. CITES now aims to protect over 35,000 species from extinction including Africa’s great apes and many monkeys.


CITES categorizes species based on their risk of extinction with differing degrees of protection for each category. Appendix I, the category of most urgently threatened species, includes all species of great apes and numerous other primates cared for by PASA member wildlife centers. Additionally, the Convention aims to prohibit the international trade of endangered species for bushmeat and for the pet trade, both industries which seriously threaten primates in Africa.

There are hundreds of other species who share the same habitats with Africa’s apes and monkeys also protected by Appendix I of CITES.

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Mountain Gorilla

One of the markets that CITES aims to end is the trade in rhinoceros horn. Demand for rhino horn for medicinal purposes and as a status symbol is Asian countries has dramatically escalated the incidence of illegal poaching in Africa. While CITES has reduced the poaching, for some species it is already too late. Today there are only three northern white rhinos left on earth. All three inhabit Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, which also houses Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, one of PASA’s member wildlife centers.  As is evidenced by the plight of the rhino, CITES alone is not enough to change the behaviors that threaten these incredible species.

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Thank you for joining the movement to protect primates!