Why do animals migrate?
Because there are seasons. These result in temporary differences
in food availability, weather, light conditions, etc. Migratory
animals make use of such differences and exploit resources
which are available in different parts of the globe only
during part of the year or of their life cycles. They have
evolved so that they can live for some time in areas that
could not sustain them the whole year round.
So, what is migration?
Migration is a natural phenomenon by which individuals
of given species move between areas which they inhabit at
different times of the year. Migratory movements tend to
be regular and largely predictable. They may take place
over large fronts or along thin, traditional routes; in
one single, continuous journey or as a series of legs interspersed
with rests. In this latter case, many species use regular
staging areas as stop-over sites where they recover from
the previous leg and gather fuel before they continue their
Why should migratory species be conserved?
Migratory species of animals are, on average, more at risk
of becoming endangered than non-migratory species. This
is so because their requirements are greater: not only do
they need good habitat for reproduction but also during
their off-season and all along their migratory routes. In
an ever-changing world, human pressure is high on some of
those habitats, and also often on the animals themselves
(hunting, incidental catch, etc). As a result, many migratory
species that were once common are becoming increasingly
rare. We all share a responsibility in the conservation
of this common natural heritage.
What migratory species are most at
Some species lead such secretive lives that not enough
can always be done to improve their conservation status.
This is the case of the Slender-billed Curlew, the breeding
grounds of which are still unknown, so few effective measures
can be taken to protect those species during the breeding
season. It is a similar case with marine turtles and some
of the marine mammals, the life habits of which are only
poorly known. Also particularly at risk are those species
subject to unsustainable exploitation and those with small
ON GLOBAL ISSUES
Are migratory species affected by
climate change? If so, to what extent?
Migratory species certainly are affected by climate change,
although it is difficult to say to what extent. The degree
of affection varies according to the species, its habitat
and food requirements, etc. But, on the whole, it can be
said that being biologically dependant on more than one
habitat, migratory species are among the worst affected
by climate change. Climate change may not only alter the
biological characteristics of a given habitat, thus even
making it unsuitable for that species, but it may also displace
certain biological components to other locations. In the
latter case, should the component be of vital importance
to the migratory species, it would be forced to adapt its
migratory habits to the new circumstances.
What role do migratory species play
in relation to global biodiversity?
Migratory species of wild animals represent only a fraction
of the total biodiversity, yet they are a very significant
portion of the world’s genetic resources. They have
evolved in intricate interrelationships, in many cases still
to be fully understood, with resident plant and other animal
species. They also play a unique role as indicators for
the interdependence of and linkages between ecosystems and
for ecological change. And they are, most of all, vulnerable
as a result of their long migrations, which involve many
Why is it called "The Bonn Convention"?
Because it was signed in Bonn, Germany, on
23 June 1979. Like many other international treaties Washington,
Bern, Ramsar, Barcelona, Basel, etc.) it is commonly known
after the city where it was concluded.
How does CMS relate to other Conventions
in the field of wildlife, conservation?
CMS is the only global (and UN-based) intergovernmental
organization which is established exclusively for the conservation
and management of migratory species. Although migratory
species in general are included in theConvention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) and migratory fish species are covered by
the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), these
conventions do not provide for the special instruments for
the conservation work to be done. Other global wildlife
conventions, such as Ramsar, CITES and the World Heritage
Convention, have their specific fields of application, with
little overlap with CMS. It may, however, arise that regional
agreements concluded under the auspices of CMS to a certain
extent overlap some global or regional conventions. For
this reason, the CMS Secretariat has developed instruments
to communicate and co-operate effectively with the secretariats
of other international conventions.
ON CMS MEMBERSHIP
What are the advantages, for a country,
of joining CMS?
As a Party to the Convention on Migratory Species, any
given country will:
demonstrate its commitment to the conservation, including
sustainable use, of migratory species on a global scale;
strengthen its legal and technical capacity to utilize
valuable natural resources on a sustainable basis, while
at the same time ensuring their conservation for the benefit
of future generations;
benefit from co-operation with other countries sharing
the same migratory animals or experiencing similar conservation
improve access to relevant technologies and data, and benefit
from a regular exchange of information and expertise;
have a full mandate, including voting rights, to participate
in meetings of the Conference of the Parties, where decisions
are taken on such important matters as the allocation of
financial resources, preparation of triennial work programmes,
adoption of financial regulations and rules of procedure,
as well as specific resolutions and recommendations; and
be eligible to participate in the work of the various other
organs of the Convention, such as the CMS Scientific Council,
Standing Committee and working groups established thereunder.
When is the next national report due
to be submitted ?
According to Article VI (3) of the Convention, the national
reports should be submitted six months prior to the COP.