CITES seeking to ban rare spider-tailed horned viper trade

March 12, 2019 - 21:57

TEHRAN – The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has proposed to ban illegal trade of spider-tailed horned viper, a unique species of viper endemic to western Iran being pushed toward extinction through poaching, ISNA reported on Tuesday.

The spider-tailed horned viper discovered in 2006, has a unique tail that has a bulb-like end resembling a spider, which is used to lure insectivorous birds to within striking range.

Due to its extraordinary look, many amphibian collectors are interested in purchasing them while their rare population cannot bear poaching, Reza Faraji director for CITES office in Iran said.

Illegal trade of the rare species is driving its fragile population to the brink of extinction, many illegal dealers have been capturing them despite hurting the valuable species, he noted, regretting, one of them was seized while being smuggled to Germany.

There is no accurate statistics of spider-tailed horned viper population because no precise studies have been conducted to determine the number of species, he lamented, adding, it is spotted in the province of Ilam and it is also found in the provinces of Kermanshah and Lorestan. 

He further expressed hope that locals resist the illegal trading of the precious species, be vigilant and oppose the suggestions for the sale of the spider-tailed horned viper, highlighting that locals must inform the Department of Environment (DOE) in case they spot violations in the region.

Following the CITES mission designed to protect endangered species against illegal trade, and based on the international demand for such illegal trade, the CITES office in Iran sets out to send a proposal to the Convention Secretariat to add spider-tailed horned viper on the Convention’s list and thus prevent its illegal trade, he explained.

He went on to say that the proposal will be reviewed and approved during the next CITES conference which will take place on May 23 – June 3, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

However, we have tried to attract the effective NGOs and international associations attention on this matter, he noted.

He also added that so far the International Union for Conservation of Nature SSC Viper Specialist Group has supported the proposal to ban the trade of this rare species.

In addition to international support, national protection is necessary, as with the DOE’s efforts spider-tailed horned viper was declared endangered on November 2018.


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