What your saying is GARBAGE the Usambara Mountains have been in the world spotlight for a long time to be considered a world heritage site and conservation and restoration of Rhampholeon spinosus habitat can absolutely happen! Have some dignity and listen to what your are saying and hold yourself to a higher standard. If a population of chameleons is listed as endangered and fighting for their species existence hold off on buying them and do not use a petty excuse of because CITES needs to update their nomenclature and wait until the populations have been restored in their native habitat. Which could legitimately happen especially if the Usambara Mountains becomes or is being considered being listed as a world heritage site.Shame for Cites. I think (most) those wholesalers simple do not know that it is preserved. They can just read current appendix and they do not study taxonomy of animals for sale. I am not supporting smuggling of animals but simple believe the most guilty is CITES in this case.
Chris, changes by Cucujus have nothing with reality. May be population is declining but change since 1984 coud be from "extremely abundant" to "very abundant". If this species has preserved status it should have as minimum half of beetle fauna (as minimum every stenoec species) because this is broad leaf forest species but there eurytop. Moreover by invertebrates the individual preservation has almost never sense and what is important is biotop preservation. I believe by spinosus it will can be similar. It seems that it is not popular species for evrybody and export of 1000 specimens will not affect significantly population as whole. To prove or disprove this will be study of population dynamic necessary. What is painfull that it can be "tested in real life" if really so large black export occurs like Juergen states. But I personally think that it is no problem otherwise they will have problem to find them and price will be higher. However if deforestation will continue they will be wiped with thousand of other animal species. And this is 100% truth without doubts. About spinosus export we can polemize but safe is without valid study (not provided by "green organisations" however) not to export and leave them in biotop. Although may be if they are collected on areas deforested in short they can be saved for CB population ... difficult problem. But I learned that even in Europe conservation of some obsure unique species will have no importance if there is economy pressure "to utilize" area. In Africa is nature destroyed very, very quickly.
I just got back from a business trip in California and spotted two California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) in two locations. If egg collectors in the 1920's thru 1950's said because it was OK to collect eggs to cause the demise of this species because CITES did not change the nomenclature you would not have witnessed one of the great biological accomplishments of the last century. One of the greatest recoveries of endangered species that has ever happened. One that has taken far more land, money, resource, people, and effort that be would require than conserving the Usambaras. I may add created jobs, publicity and world biological community attention.
Do not justify your desire or thrill to work with an endangered species based on a nomenclature that is being updated now. Hold out until they have been restored or if your that big of a fan of the species go and watch them on an ecotourism trip. Hold off until things change, you are proclaiming yourself an expert on the species in the wild with no sources cited and most that I'm reading from you is speculation.
If you want your Rhamholeon spinosus stop dily dalying and actually contribute to make the Usambara Mountains a recognized world heritage site. Stop contributing to their demise by buying them as pets. It is highly unlikely your going to come close to contributing to save that species from being endangered with private captive breeding.