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Endangered species Tougher sanctions mooted on illegal trade in animals and plants

Fish in plastic bag

About 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are protected by CITES against over-exploitation through international trade.

(Keystone/Piyal Adhikary)

The Swiss government wants to tighten sanctions against the illegal trade in protected wild flora and fauna.

Under the proposal, the trafficking of protected species for commercial purposes would become a punishable crime, according to a statement by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Officeexternal link.

The sale of protected animals and plants would also be made more transparent and the government could introduce import bans on a temporary basis.

The proposals which are in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITESexternal link) are put to political parties, institutions and organisations for consultation until November before the government is due to present a bill to parliament.

The move comes less than a week before the member states to CITES are meeting in the Swiss city of Geneva for a major conference.

Switzerland has been a signatory and depositary state to the convention since 1973 and the CITES secretariat is based in Geneva.

swissinfo.ch/urs

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