CITES: Looking back on a journey of emotion and reasoning

It’s hard to forget the day I arrived in Thailand. On every corner smells emanated from street vendors cooking a variety of dishes from enticing Thai noodles to spicy cockroaches. The whir of tuk-tuks and motorcycles came from unexpected directions, as drivers sped down sidewalks to avoid traffic jams. Bangkok pushed my senses to new levels, and while it was hard to ignore its attractions, our group of five graduate students from F&ES was on a mission. Our destination: the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

The first day of CITES CoP16 was a celebration, not only for the opening of the meeting, but also to observe the 40th anniversary of CITES. CITES was drafted…