Stop Hunting, Dismembering, and Selling Hippos to Near-Extinction

Target: Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General of CITES

Goal: Add hippos to list of endangered species and ban sale of body parts.

The hippopotamus, one of the world’s heftiest animals, is in dire straits. Hippos are native to Africa, where their current population has dropped to about 115,000. While this number may seem large at first glance, it’s far lower than in previous decades. Although habitat loss and climate change have played a pivotal role in these losses, hippos are also targeted by humans for trophies, ivory, or spare parts. A proposed new protection could seriously hinder these latter threats and help restore hippo populations.

Under current global guidelines from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), hippos (any part of them) can be traded commercially and even as hunting trophies. Ten African countries that these animals call home want to change this narrative, though. Because hippos are listed as threatened but not endangered by CITES, they are not shielded from relentless slaughter and exploitation. If they are recognized as endangered by this influential organization, an international ban could be implemented that would prohibit ivory and other hippo parts trades.

A convention is coming later this year that could make the safeguard a reality. Sign the petition below to urge CITES to approve this important protective proposal.


Dear Secretary-General Higuero,

Over 77,000 hippo parts were traded across the world over a ten-year period, and these numbers just represent the legal trade. The animals are experiencing drastic hits to their population from the combined forces of climate and habitat degradation and human exploitation. The IUCN recognized this mounting danger when they listed the hippopotamus on their Red List of endangered species.

The time is now for CITES to do the same. Ten of the countries most impacted by hippo population losses have united to request a formal entry of hippos into Appendix I at the Panama convention. This designation would provide hippos vital protections against international trade that they desperately need to mount a resurgence.

Please honor the request and stop this standout animal’s slide toward extinction.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Min An

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