Species unlisted in CITES were imported 3.6 times more into the US than listed ones
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is the largest regulator of international trade in wildlife. But species at risk of overexploitation from international trade are not automatically designated as protected. For instance, only 10.5 per cent of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles are listed in CITES. And now, a study has found that unlisted species like this red-rumped agouti (Dasyprocta leporine) are being traded even more than those listed. Photo: iStock
The researchers “used 10 years of species-level trade records of the numbers of live, wild-caught animals imported to the United States and data on International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates of extinction risk.” They found that unlisted species were imported 3.6 times more into the US than CITED-listed ones (1,366 vs 378 species). Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus), was one of the two most traded, unlisted mammal species, along with the red-rumped agouti. Photo: Dave Pape via Wikimedia Commons
Those species listed in CITES were more likely to face reported conservation threats relative to unlisted species (71.7 per cent vs 27.5 per cent). “However, 376 unlisted species faced conservation threats, 297 species had unknown population trends, and 139 species were without an evaluation by the IUCN. The caribou (Rangifer tarandus) is unlisted by CITES. It was also imported in large quantities but has not yet been assessed by the IUCN, according to the study. Photo: iStock
Unlisted reptiles had the largest rate of entry, averaging 53 unique species appearing in imports for the first time per year. The Asian or Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus), one of two most traded by quantity reptile species, showed a negative population trend. It is also listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by CITES. Photo: iStock
The other reptile species was the Testudo horsfieldii or Russian tortoise. The U.S. market for imported wildlife not listed in the CITES multilateral treaty was published in Conservation Biology. Photo: iStock
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