Belgium consists of three regions with policies adapted to each region.
Fauna in Flanders
Flanders is a densely populated, dynamic region with a very fragmented landscape. For this reason, wildlife is under a lot of pressure. Approximately half of its plants and animals are on the 'Red List', an inventory of endangered species.
The website of the Institute for Nature and Woodland Research has more information about fauna in Flanders, with a Red List for each species of animal.
Fauna in the Brussels Capital Region
In spite of increasing urbanization, traffic and intensive economic activity, the Brussels Capital Region has a number of rare species of animal. This rich fauna is, of course, very vulnerable.
Fauna in Wallonia
The populations of numerous species of plant and animal continue to decrease in Wallonia. Not only rare, but also common species are struggling to survive.
The serious decline of certain species is primarily the result of loss of natural habitat, essential to their chances of survival. There is a red list (in French) per plant and animal species.
The Wallonia region’s environment portal offers more information about the protection of endangered species and habitats (in French).
'Natura 2000' is a European network of protected natural areas. It covers all areas designated by the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
More information about 'Natura 2000' can be found on the website www.natura.org.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES is an agreement between 172 countries that controls the trade in endangered species of animals and plants.
Its aim is to ensure that endangered animals and plants do not become extinct. More than 800 species of animals and plants may no longer be sold anywhere in the world. Special licences are necessary to trade aproximately 25,000 species. Animal by-products (such as ivory, caviar, wood, seeds and plants, etc.) are also protected under this convention and therefore cannot be freely traded.
More information about CITES can be found on the website www.cites.org.
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is a second major international convention, in which a group of 104 countries resolved to protect endangered animal species over their entire area of distribution.
Belgium has been a member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 2004, a commission currently composed of 77 member nations. Belgium plays an active role within this group of countries that do not hunt whales and that aim to achieve effective measures to control, and even abolish, commercial whale hunting.
Souvenirs from abroad
Tourists still continue to buy, in ignorance, souvenirs that put immense pressures on nature. Consider coral, giant clam shells, bags made of reptile skin…
Moreover, even if the sale of these souvenirs was legal in the country of origin, it may be punishable under law to bring some of these items back to Belgium.