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Poor and rural people around the world rely on plants and animals for shelter, food, income and medicine.The CITES framework, combined with strong national conservation policies, can simultaneously protect wild species and benefit poor, rural and indigenous people, by encouraging countries and communities to adopt sound environmental management plans.However, outside of CITES, limited guidance is available to ensure that legal trade is sustainable and beneficial to the poor. Sustainable trade often depends on poor and rural communities conserving their own resources at the local level. The biggest threats to the legal wildlife trade are poaching, smuggling, improper trade permitting and animal abuse, all of which must be addressed by regulators and rural community stakeholders at the local level.For example, in the 1970s when Peru granted Andean communities the right to use vicu?a wool, it saved the vicu?a from extinction and created new, long-term income streams for the community. Because legal and natural circumstances vary by country and community, we will need similar policy innovations across different sectors.To take one example, since Rwanda began sharing wildlife-tourism revenues with local communities, the mountain-gorilla population has grown.
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