Python Conservation Partnership launched to ensure sustainability of python trade

29 April 2014
ITC News
The “Python Conservation Partnership” is developed between Kering, IUCN, and ITC in order to improve sustainability in global trade of python skins.

In 2012 ITC published the report “The trade in Southeast Asian python skins”. The study estimated the value of legal trade in python skins to be USD 1 billion. It raised concerns about sustainability, illegality and animal welfare in the value chain.

ITC, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Kering, a fashion holding company for major luxury brands such as Gucci, have formed a public private partnership. The partnership will implement a joint programme of research and capacity building, addressing python conservation, livelihoods and sustainable trade practices in Southeast Asia's python value chain. 

The majority of  Southeast Asian python skins go to the European Union where they are used in the luxury fashion industry to make high-end leather products. The main exporters of python skins are Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, where Indonesia and Malaysia export wild harvest pythons and Vietnam exports captive-bred pythons.

The “Python Conservation Partnership” will, during the following three years, focus on analysis and recommendations on sustainability, transparency, animal welfare and local livelihoods for the python trade. The results from the studies will be available as public reports and peer-reviewed scientific articles in order for stakeholders to improve management across trade. 

The first report of the Python conservation partnership on the “Assessment of python breeding farms supplying the international high-end leather industry” has been released by IUCN and Kering. This looks into the economic feasibility and viability of captive breeding of pythons as a possible element of sustainable use and conservation of the species. It will provide guidance to those involved in the python trade to adopt sustainable practices when sourcing skins. 

In May 2014, ITC will begin a survey in Vietnam to evaluate the livelihood benefits of households and communities from the trade in python skins.

See more here: ITC press release on the partnership.