The African lion has been listed in CITES Appendix II since 1977, which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. As the only big cat listed in this appendix, it is the only one for which international commercial trade is legal under CITES. The trade in lion body parts, in particular bones, has markedly increased in recent years, with 16 skeletal items derived from wild lions traded in 2005 and 1,339 in 2014. Legal trade in lion bones is particularly prevalent to Asia from South Africa, where lion farming for commercial trade is allowed.
Article IV 2a) of CITES states that in order to grant an export permit for trade in specimens of species included in Appendix II, one of the requirements is that “a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species”. This advice given by the Scientific Authority is called the NDF.
The making of NDFs is one of the key tasks of CITES Scientific Authorities and a cornerstone of the Convention. The principles and background of NDFs are contained in Res.Conf. 16.7.
CITES guidance on the making of NDFs can be found here.
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© John Birch