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5 Mar, 2013

Wild and Precious’ Plants and Animals in Focus at CITES Photo Exhibition in Bangkok

UN Environment Program Press Release

Bangkok, 03 March 2013 – Vibrantly-coloured snakes, predatory sharks, and delicate orchids are among the flora and fauna featured in a new international photography exhibition and publication launched today to mark the 40th anniversary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Bangkok.

Seven of the world’s most renowned nature photographers have taken part in the ‘Wild and Precious’ initiative organized by the GoodPlanet Foundation to celebrate the achievements of CITES. The photographs aim to draw attention to the trade in flowers, horn, skins and fins which is a major factor in the endangered status of many of the plants and animals featured in the exhibition.

The WILD & PRECIOUS exhibition, in collaboration with CITES and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), features contributions by photographers Laurent Baheux, Sandra Bartocha, Heidi and Hans-Jurgen Koch, Mark Laita, Brian Skerry and Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

The WILD & PRECIOUS book contains 192 pages of success stories on species conservation from across the world. It highlights the threats facing the survival of certain species and outlines some key conservation solutions. The book is divided into six chapters, each covering a specific conservation issue and illustrated by full-page pictures. The text is written by the GoodPlanet Foundation. a French NGO founded by photographer and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

The WILD & PRECIOUS exhibition aims to bring these striking images to the attention of delegates at the CITES CoP, before traveling to other major cities around the world. It is expected that the exhibition will be held in international airports worldwide, with the aim of encouraging the world’s citizens to think and act responsibly regarding trade in animal and plants.
The book and exhibition carry a positive message of hope. It is not too late to tackle illegal wildlife trade and promote the sustainable use of nature, which provides the livelihoods necessary to encourage communities to support endangered species and their habitats.


“Beauty is the driving force of my work as a photographer, and of my fellow photographers who kindly contributed to this exhibition.Beauty moves the heart, it opens the mind. Beauty arouses empathy towards humans and other living species.As a photographer but also as the president of a NGO which works towards making the world a better place, I hope that the beauty of these pictures will inspire you with the will to take action to protect biodiversity.” – YANN ARTHUS-BERTRANDPresident of the GoodPlanet Foundation UNEP goodwill ambassador. www.goodplanet.org

A new era of global cooperation to conserve and sustainably use wildlife was launched on March 3rd 1973 at the World Wildlife Conference in Washington D.C. with the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Thus far, none of the 35 000CITES-listed species has been driven to extinction as a result of commercial exploitation authorised by CITES, and world leaders expressly recognized the importance of the convention at the 20th Anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit (Rio+20). It is an inspiring example of successful international cooperation and national action that gives us hope for a sustainable future in which humans and wildlife coexist in harmony. ” JOHN E. SCANLON Secretary – General of CITES. www.cites.org


WILD & PRECIOUS was made by the GoodPlanet Foundation with CITES and UNEP to celebrate the CITES 40th anniversary.

The GoodPlanet Foundation

Chaired by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the GoodPlanet Foundation aims to raise awareness and educate the general public about environmental protection. It encourages us to adopt a way of life that is more respectful of the Earth and its inhabitants. It offers realistic and optimistic solutions, and encourages each individual to take action for the planet using a series of programs in order to “bring ecology to the forefront of awareness”. www.goodplanet.org


CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), also known as the Washington Convention, is a multilateral treaty, that entered into force on the 1st of July, 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to 35,000 species of animals and plants. www.cites.org

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP was created in 1972. It is the highest environmental authority within the United Nations system. The programme acts as a catalyst. It supports, instructs, facilitates and strives to promote the sensible use and the sustainable development of the world’s environment. To do this, UNEP works with many partners including United Nations agencies, international organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and civil society. www.unep.org