3. Statutory Requirements and Regulatory Bodies
The investigator must have knowledge of all regulations pertaining to the animals under study, as well as to biosecurity issues, and must obtain all permits necessary for carrying out proposed studies (ASIH et al. 1987, 1988). Responsibility for compliance rests with the institution and, ultimately, with the principal investigator.
Investigators working outside of the United States should comply with all wildlife regulations of the country in which the research is being performed. Work with many species is regulated by provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES; http://www.cites.org/), an international agreement with an aim to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES promotes that “wild fauna and flora in their many beautiful and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come” (CITES 1979, http://www.cites.org/eng/disc/text.php). Trades range from live animals to a vast array of wildlife products, including sturgeon caviar. The CITES Web site includes a database of species and maps. The text of the Convention was finalized in Washington, D.C., in 1973 following a 1963 resolution adopted by members of World Conservation Union. Member countries (Parties) adhere voluntarily, and when they have “joined” CITES, they are legally bound to implement the Convention. The regulations of the Convention, however, do not replace national laws; rather, they provide a framework to be respected by each Party. Each Party then adopts its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.