The programme of research over the next three years will focus on the analysis and recommendations around sustainability, transparency, animal welfare and local livelihoods for the python trade. The data and findings will contribute to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) process, which supports a framework for countries to manage their trade in endangered species such that it contributes to local livelihoods and does not threaten the survival of species in the wild. Results and recommendations from the ‘Python Conservation Partnership’ will be made available as public reports and peer-reviewed scientific articles to stakeholders to improve management across the trade. The research will cover five key areas:

  • Monitoring wild capture to improve sustainable sourcing

  • Differentiating between captive-bred and wild animals through innovative technology

  • Developing and promoting the highest standards of animal health and welfare

  • Exploring ways to improve captive breeding

  • Better understanding the impacts of the python trade on local livelihoods

The programme will be managed by a Steering Committee comprising experts from Kering and one of its largest luxury brands Gucci, the IUCN SSC Boa & Python Specialist Group and ITC, together with external expert advisors.

“Collaboration between the private sector, NGO’s, IGO’s and governmental agencies is an important step forward for stakeholders to explore different ways of overcoming the various challenges the python trade faces” said Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of international institutional affairs, Kering, “Sustainable sourcing and traceability of the trade is of utmost importance to us, and the insights that the ‘Python Conservation Partnership’ will provide us, as well as our industry peers, will be invaluable and contribute to defining best practices to help drive an improved trade that all stakeholders agree is urgently needed.” 

“Supporting this collaboration with our expertise and experience to help improve the conditions and practices of the python trade is a priority as part of Gucci’s continued commitment to sustainability and quality,” said Karlheinz Hofer, GUCCI WW Operations and Supply Chain Director, “We look forward to participating in the Steering Committee of the ‘Python Conservation Partnership’ to ensure that it makes an important contribution to develop a more sustainable trade.”

“We hope that this initiative will positively impact the conservation of the two biggest python species of South East Asia which are affected by the python skin trade – the Burmese and the Reticulated Python,” said Tomas Waller, Chair IUCN SSC Boa & Python Specialist Group. “We aim to address fundamental concerns related to sustainability and livelihoods while supporting the recent decisions taken by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to improve sustainability and compliance of Asian snakes trade.”

“Ensuring that trade, livelihoods and sustainable development go hand in hand is a priority for ITC. The trade in biodiversity-based products such as python skins is a source of cash income to impoverished rural families in South East Asia. Communities also have an important role in ensuring the sustainability of trade in these products. ITC will work closely with Kering, Gucci and IUCN to research the benefits of the trade to low income groups and how they can contribute more effectively to the sustainable management and trade of these resources,” said Arancha González, ITC’s Executive Director.