Article

The gravity of wildlife trade

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Abstract

Unsustainable trade in wildlife products both legally and illegally is a leading cause of population declines and increased extinction risk in commercially valuable species. However due to the clandestine nature of illegal trade and paucity of overarching studies of legal trade our understanding on international trade networks is patchy. We develop a gravity-underreporting modelling framework to analyse and compare: (i) data on the legal trade in mammalian, avian and reptilian products from recorded by The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and (ii) to data on the seizures of illegal products entering the USA between 2004 and 2013. We find substantial differences in the factors driving legal trade for the 3 taxonomic groups considered, indicating different drivers for different product markets. Illegal imports for all groups were associated with increasing exporter GDP. We found higher probabilities of underreporting for avian and reptile products, and in general central Africa, central Asia, Eastern Europe and Pacific Island states showed higher underreporting than other regions, indicating the existence of complex trade networks and the potential for the laundering of illegal products through legal markets. Our results show the important regional and economic trends driving wildlife trade. Our new modelling framework can also help illuminate previously unseen aspects of illegal and legal wildlife trade, which can help with the implementation of interventions to curb the impact of trade on wild populations.

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... This is considerably larger when compared to IWT, whose value is estimated to be between US$7 billion and US$23 billion per year (Andersson et al., 2021;UNEP, 2016). However, it should be noted that databases used to track trade volumes of LWT, such as CITES, are subject to underreporting, because of inconsistencies in the standards of reporting across CITES Parties, stemming from poor framing and enforcement of domestic legislation (Symes et al., 2018). ...
... Both legal and illegal forms of trade are believed to contribute to the process of extinction of vulnerable wildlife. This was confirmed by Symes et al. (2018), who assert that all forms of wildlife trade (illegal and legal) are a significant contributor to dwindling wildlife populations and have put those species that are commercially valued at the risk of extinction. The flourishing international LWT is also acknowledged to be an enabling factor of the transmission of zoonotic diseases, which has necessitated stricter regulation of the wildlife trade (Karesh et al., 2012 as cited in Can et al., 2019). ...
... due to laundering of wildlife illegally caught through legal channels, further complicates matters (Bulte & Damania, 2005;Challender et al., 2015). Symes et al. (2018) point out that studies on LWT are lacking, which has limited the understanding of international trade networks. This lack of research also concerns the risk of zoonotic diseases. ...
... However, such estimates are often based on seizure data reported at the national level, which are subject to detection and reporting biases, for example, toward higher-income countries with better enforcement or reporting capacity (27). Underreporting is also more likely for trade in certain species and products that may be easier to conceal or not high-profile and therefore lower priority for customs agents (28). In a few cases, specialized methods can account for some of these biases, producing more robust estimates of illegal trade, albeit relative trends, such as the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) (27). ...
... In a few cases, specialized methods can account for some of these biases, producing more robust estimates of illegal trade, albeit relative trends, such as the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) (27). However, although methods to quantify underreporting are being adopted from other disciplines [e.g., gravity-underreporting models (28)], the majority of seizure data analyses do not adequately account for these important biases (see the sidebar titled Valuing the Illegal Wildlife Trade; also see Figure 2). ...
... There are some potential avenues for drawing conclusions on where illegal trade is taking place using patterns of underreporting in CITES data (41), or discrepancies between CITES and customs data (43). Furthermore, comparative analyses may reveal useful information for understanding illegal markets, such as when shared economic drivers of certain legal and illegal wildlife markets can be discerned (28). ...
Article
Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has increased in profile in recent years as a global policy issue, largely because of its association with declines in prominent internationally trafficked species. In this review, we explore the scale of IWT, associated threats to biodiversity, and appropriate responses to these threats. We discuss the historical development of IWT research and highlight the uncertainties that plague the evidence base, emphasizing the need for more systematic approaches to addressing evidence gaps in a way that minimizes the risk of unethical or counterproductive outcomes for wildlife and people. We highlight the need for evaluating interventions in order to learn, and the importance of sharing datasets and lessons learned. A more collaborative approach to linking IWT research, practice, and policy would better align public policy discourse and action with research evidence. This in turn would enable more effective policy making that contributes to reducing the threat to biodiversity that IWT represents. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 44 is October 17, 2019. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... The underlying causes of these temporal trends are not always obvious, but steep declines in trade volume of (29). For other animal groups, declining trade volumes could be the result of effective enforcement and decreasing demand for products made from endangered animals (30, 31)-or more worryingly, as a consequence of diminishing wild populations, an increasingly dominant illegal trade and widespread "laundering" of illegally traded animals (32,33). Trade in sharks and rays, in contrast, has increased rapidly since 2013, but this may reflect improved documentation of exports/imports after nine shark species were added to CITES Appendix II between 2014 and 2017 (34). ...
... The data we analyzed in this paper were representative of the legal trade in threatened (i.e., CITES-listed) species, raising questions about the applicability of our findings to the wider international wildlife market inclusive of the illegal trade and trade in nonthreatened (i.e., non-CITES-listed) species. The primary obstacles to this task are the sparsity of quantifiable illegal trade data at the international level (33,35) and inconsistent record-keeping for non-CITESregulated transactions. Given these challenges, we contextualized our findings by comparing a subset of the data analyzed (i.e., all trade entering the United States between 2000 and 2014) against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Law Enforcement Management Information System (USFWS-LEMIS)-sourced "WILDb" datasetthe most representative record of trade in the wider international market currently available (36). ...
Article
Full-text available
The wildlife trade is a major cause of species loss and a pathway for disease transmission. Socioeconomic drivers of the wildlife trade are influential at the local scale yet rarely accounted for in multinational agreements aimed at curtailing international trade in threatened species. In recent decades (1998-2018), approximately 421,000,000 threatened (i.e., CITES-listed) wild animals were traded between 226 nations/territories. The global trade network was more highly connected under conditions of greater international wealth inequality, when rich importers may have a larger economic advantage over poorer exporting nations/territories. Bilateral trade was driven primarily by socioeconomic factors at the supply end, with wealthier exporters likely to supply more animals to the global market. Our findings suggest that international policies for reducing the global wildlife trade should address inequalities between signatory states, possibly using incentive/compensation-driven programs modeled after other transnational environmental initiatives (e.g., REDD+).
... The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a key driver of biodiversity decline, and it has great policy resonance worldwide, drawing considerable attention and financial resources ('t Sas-Rolfes et al., 2019;Massé & Margulies, 2020). However, like other topics in conservation, IWT is affected by the multiple challenges to evidence-based conservation, particularly the lack of evidence surrounding its prevalence, characteristics and drivers (Milner-Gulland et al., 2018;Symes et al., 2018). Due to its covert nature, most of the available information on IWT is restricted to seizure events reported by national authorities or documented by the media (UNODC, 2020). ...
... Due to its covert nature, most of the available information on IWT is restricted to seizure events reported by national authorities or documented by the media (UNODC, 2020). Seizure data on its own cannot adequately represent the magnitude or trends in IWT, being subject to numerous biases including unknown proportions of seized items; unidentified seizure rates; varying enforcement effort, effectiveness and reporting across countries; taxonomic and product biases; and lack of accessibility to the data, among others (Symes et al., 2018;Underwood et al., 2013;UNODC, 2020). In the absence of robust estimates and context-specific analyses of the characteristics of IWT for many illegally traded species, decision-making on IWT is often subject to misinformation, lobbying and emotionally and geopolitically appealing narratives about its potential links with terrorism, national security and foreign demand (Duffy, 2014;Massé & Margulies, 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
There are calls to ground policies aimed at addressing the illegal wildlife trade (IWT), and biodiversity conservation more generally, on the best available evidence. However, evidence on IWT can be highly uncertain and difficult to obtain due to the illegal nature of the trade. Even when the evidence exists, there are numerous barriers to its uptake by decision makers, pertaining to the evidence itself and to the characteristics and contexts of those using it. The surfacing of the illegal trade in jaguars Panthera onca provides an example of how evidence is, and is not, used for decision‐making on IWT. We interviewed 38 conservation practitioners in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, who had knowledge about, or experience dealing with, illegal jaguar trade. Interviewees described their information sources and decision‐making processes, and explicitly and implicitly prioritized jaguar trade evidence, based on attributes like the evidence's source, the scale and purpose of the trade, its temporal and spatial dimensions and the nationality of offenders. Even though interviewees stated that they use scientific evidence to make decisions, they gave more weight to evidence involving foreign actors and commercial purposes than local and non‐commercial ones, paying less attention to the potential impact on jaguars or the source of the information. They were also more inclined to favour events that were spatially and temporally closer to their own reality. Our results show that the interpretation and uptake of evidence are subject to contextual constraints and personal biases, which are common across fields and sectors, even amongst experienced decision makers. We propose an approach for evaluating evidence and informing decision‐making within IWT and biodiversity conservation. Our approach aims to guide conservation decision makers and practitioners to assess the relevance and uncertainty of the evidence, to recognize their own interpretation biases, to identify the actions that are appropriate based on the evidence and to improve the transparency of their decisions. It can also guide evidence ‘producers’ to develop evidence that is more aligned to conservation policy and practice. This approach can contribute towards more evidence‐based practice within the field of biodiversity conservation, with applications to IWT and beyond. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article. Se ha hecho un llamado a que las políticas e intervenciones destinadas a abordar el tráfico de vida silvestre (TVS), y la conservación de la biodiversidad en general, sean basadas en la mejor evidencia disponible. Sin embargo, la evidencia sobre el TVS puede ser incierta y difícil de obtener debido a su naturaleza ilegal. Incluso cuando la evidencia se encuentra disponible, existen varias barreras para su uso y asimilación por parte de los tomadores de decisiones, relacionadas con las características de la evidencia y de quienes la utilizan, según su contexto específico. El abordaje del tráfico de jaguares Panthera onca es un ejemplo de cómo la evidencia es utilizada y no utilizada para la toma de decisiones sobre el TVS. Entrevistamos a 38 conservacionistas y tomadores de decisiones en materia de vida silvestre en Belice, Guatemala y Honduras, quienes tenían conocimiento o experiencia combatiendo el tráfico de jaguares. Estas personas describieron sus fuentes de información y procesos de toma de decisiones, y priorizaron explícita e implícitamente ejemplos de evidencia sobre el tráfico de jaguares, basándose en atributos como la fuente de la evidencia, la escala y el propósito del tráfico, sus dimensiones temporales y espaciales y la nacionalidad de los infractores. A pesar de que los entrevistados/as manifestaron que utilizan evidencia científica para tomar decisiones, muchos le dieron más peso a la evidencia que involucra a actores extranjeros y fines comerciales que a los actores locales y propósitos no‐comerciales, prestando menos atención al impacto potencial sobre los jaguares o la fuente de la información. También presentaron una inclinación hacia favorecer los eventos que estaban espacial y temporalmente más cercanos a su propia realidad. Nuestros resultados muestran que la interpretación y la asimilación de la evidencia están sujetas a restricciones contextuales y sesgos personales, que son comunes en todos los campos y sectores, incluso entre los tomadores de decisiones con experiencia y preparación científica. Proponemos un enfoque para evaluar la evidencia e informar la toma de decisiones dentro del TVS y la conservación de la biodiversidad. Nuestro enfoque tiene como objetivo guiar a los tomadores de decisiones y profesionales de la conservación para evaluar la relevancia e incertidumbre detrás de la evidencia, reconocer sus propios sesgos de interpretación, identificar las acciones que son apropiadas en base a la evidencia y mejorar la transparencia de sus decisiones. Nuestro enfoque sugerido también puede orientar a quienes producen la evidencia, para hacerlo de una manera más alineada con las políticas y prácticas de quienes toman las decisiones en el ámbito de la conservación. Este enfoque puede contribuir hacia una práctica de conservación más fundamentada en la evidencia, con aplicaciones para el combate al TVS y más allá. A free Plain Language Summary can be found within the Supporting Information of this article.
... Finally, seven variables (i.e., SRI-species richness of birds in importing countries, SRE-species richness of birds in exporting countries, GDPs-I-the annual GDPs of the importing countries, GDPs-E-the annual GDPs of the exporting countries, ER-the exchange rate between the currency of the exporters and Chinese currency (RMB), CEC-culture of the exporting countries, and BEC-bans of the exporting countries) were selected and calculated, because previous studies have suggested that they could potentially influence the number of bird species involved in international trade (e.g., Anderson, 1979;Burger et al., 2009;Symes et al., 2018;Vall-Llosera and 1 Su, 2019). Details of the data acquisition are as follows: SRI and SRE were obtained from the BirdLife International database (http:// datazone.birdlife.org/country). ...
... Therefore, China can easily import more species from these countries. In contrast with other studies (e.g., Challender et al., 2015;Luiselli et al., 2012;Symes et al., 2018), ER, GDPs, and SRE had no significant effects on bird species richness in trade in our study. Different levels of national wildlife trade regulations in different countries may be responsible for this phenomenon (Challender et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
There is a large international trade in live birds, which could affect wild bird populations at both national and global scales. It is thus crucial to understand the temporal and geographical dynamics of international trade in wildlife periodically to inform management. We characterized the international legal trade in live birds of species listed in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by China from 2010 to 2019, and investigated the potential factors influencing this trade. According to the CITES Trade Database, China imported more than 90,000 live birds of about 130 species and exported only 603 live birds of 10 species from 2010 to 2019, indicating that China was a major importer of this group. Most bird species imported by China were Psittaciformes (e.g., Grey parrot Psittacus erithacus, accounting for 86% of the total imported individuals), while most birds exported from China were Psittaciformes (75%; e.g., Fischer's lovebird Agapornis fischeri) and Falconiformes (24%; e.g., Saker falcon Falco cherrug,). These species were traded for different purposes such as commercial activities, zoo, and personal needs. Trading partners included over 40 countries: South Africa, Mali, Guyana, and Suriname were the main exporters of live birds to China, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the main importers of live birds from China. The optimal generalized linear model suggested that the bird species richness imported to China was only positively correlated with bird-keeping culture of the exporting countries, which contributed a large quantity (77.87%) to the variation of the bird species richness in trade based on the hierarchical partitioning analyses. Our results may have broad implications for better management of international bird trade with China, including improving population monitoring within their native ranges and invasion risk assessment of the most highly-traded wild-caught and non-native species, improving monitoring and reporting their trade, etc. Further studies are needed to look at trade in particular groups of birds (e.g. Psittaciformes and Falconiformes) for better understanding and management.
... Additionally, countries within the 'global South' tend to be main exporting countries of species, since they possess the majority of global biodiversity, e.g. hotspots like the Amazon rainforest or the Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa (Mittermeier et al., 2011) and species native to these regions are in high demand on a global scale (Scheffers et al., 2019;Symes et al., 2018;Harrington, 2015). And finally, high export volumes due to increasing demand lead to higher numbers of threatened species (BirdLife International, 2018;Harris et al., 2017;Fernandes-Ferreira et al., 2012). ...
... When focusing on the country-level, five main importer countries can be identified: the United States of America, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China. The United States of America have already been identified as a major importer (Symes et al., 2018;Lenzen et al., 2012), and with a rising economy and growing international trade connections, China plays an important role on the global market as well (Sun and Heshmati, 2010). Fig. 4 shows that, besides the geographical difference between sending and receiving regions, there is also a difference between sending regions for each individual ES. ...
Article
Ecosystem services flow interregionally between sending and receiving regions and their consumption can have impacts on ecosystems in distant regions. Global trade of wild species comprises a multitude of ecosystem services. We identify ecosystem service flows provided by traded species and delineate main sending and receiving regions through species range maps, based on bilateral trade entries in the database of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) from 2014 to 2018. We found that 65% of species represent the service class 'Science' (1378 species), 14% 'Decoration and Pets' (293), 9% 'Entertainment' (188), 4.7% 'Conservation' (96), 4.6% 'Education' (95) and 2.7% 'Medicine' (54). Sending regions are predominantly located in the 'global South' and receiving regions in the 'global North'. Of the traded species 12.3% are threatened and 83.9% may become so without regulation. Of the main sending regions 24.1% are protected. Results show that main sending and main receiving regions differ depending on the ecosystem service. By linking actual trade data from CITES with different types of services, traded service-providing species can be directly assigned to service classes. Through the novel approach of identifying sending regions based on species-specific range maps, the study enables spatial analyses down to a 100x100km scale within countries and regions globally for more targeted conservation actions.
... Uma vez que as colônias de abelhas sem ferrão abrigam uma diversidade desconhecida de simbiontes, a mistura de populações ou a introdução de espécies exóticas de abelhas de diferentes habitats e regiões podem ser fatores efetivos para extinções locais, uma vez que novos patógenos e parasitas podem colocar populações nativas em declínio (ver Aizen et al., 2018;Fontúrbel et al., 2021;Freitas et al., 2009;Guzman-Novoa et al., 2015;Meeus et al., 2011). Além disso, como o comércio ilegal é uma séria ameaça à sobrevivência de espécies a nível global (Scheffers et al., 2019;Symes et al., 2018) e a competição ecológica pode ameaçar as espécies locais (Santos et al., 2021), resultando na possível supressão de genótipos raros e de adaptações locais (Jaffé et al., 2016), estudar, monitorar e quantificar o comércio online de abelhas sem ferrão deveria ser prioridade em estratégias de conservação. Sabendo que o comércio ilegal online é uma grande ameaça para a conservação da biodiversidade (IFAW, 2018) e que as abelhas sem ferrão estão na mira de vendedores dispostos a comercializar colmeias indiscriminadamente sem a necessária autorização, medidas devem ser tomadas para interromper tal cadeia de tráfico. ...
Article
Full-text available
• Abelhas sem ferrão são comercializadas pela internet no Brasil. Este comércio tem misturado populações e introduzido espécies, proporciona a disseminação de simbiontes e doenças e majoritariamente não cumpre legislações nacionais.• Ao menos 33 espécies de abelhas sem ferrão têm sido visadas pelo comércio digital; oito outras não foram confirmadas. Todas as transações encontradas estão na internet de superfície e a maioria dos vendedores não cumprem os requerimentos legais. Tais resultados sugerem pouca necessidade de anonimato dos vendedores, um fato que sustenta conclusões sobre a recorrente falta de aplicação de leis ambientais contra o comércio ilegal de vida selvagem no país.• Zonas geográficas críticas no Brasil, onde se concentram os vendedores de colmeias sem ferrão sem autorização, estão principalmente na Mata Atlântica. Medidas políticas urgentes e avaliações científicas são necessárias tanto para a conservação das abelhas quanto para o controle do risco de patógenos. A estratégia mais promissora para evitar as ameaças relacionadas ao movimento das abelhas é a sensibilização dos meliponicultores.
... Analysis of seizure data is increasingly used to gain better insight into wildlife trade (Rosen & Smith 2010, Siriwat & Nijman 2018, Symes et al. 2018. We analysed seizures of White-rumped Shama in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam between January 2008 and June 2018. ...
... The illegal wildlife trade, on another hand, is non-regulated and is a serious conservation problem, causing a major threat to the survival of many fauna and flora species (Izzo, 2010). While the legal wildlife trade supports millions of people worldwide (Engler and Parry-Jones, 2007;Symes et al., 2018), a significant portion of trade in wildlife is illegal. This illegal trade represents the significant threat to global biodiversity. ...
Thesis
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The variety of wildlife products used in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) is extensive and includes many species that have been designated as threatened according to the IUCN Red List criteria. However, the role of TAM in global health care has been recognised by the World Health Organisation and TAM practices is predicted to increase globally. In 2013, China announced its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to increase China’s involvement in international development, cover 65 countries. The expansion of BRI, with promotion of TAM as a key tenant, increases trade connectivity between Africa and China may create an opportunity for wildlife trafficking, particularly for high value wildlife products such as those used in TAM. This research aims to explore TAM practitioners and consumers’ knowledge and preference in South Africa towards the use of wildlife parts; determine how it might contribute to the illegal trade and consumption at national and international levels; and determine which factors influence choice of treatment. Market surveys were conducted to evaluate the scale of the markets, social surveys undertaken to examine the trade and demand between South Africa and Vietnam, and a specialised questioning technique used to estimate the use of endangered wild animal species in TAM. Three main groups of TAM consumers were identified in South Africa: the new Asian migrants, the Chinese African and the local African. There is a strong belief ingrained in TAM users in the power of consuming wild animal parts as medicine across all consumer groups. Our findings suggest that the practice of TAM, including the use of wild animal parts is established among the local African peoples, beyond the Asian diaspora. There were a considerable number of wild animal parts being sold for TAM purposes in South Africa, including raw parts from Asian species such as bear bile and gallbladder, and processed products that have been manufactured within Asia and potentially smuggled into South Africa for domestic consumption. Together, these findings enhance our knowledge regarding the illegal trade and consumption of wild animal parts for TAM in South Africa, and highlighted the need for collaboration efforts between organisations and relevant stakeholders to tackle these issues.
... Annually, tens of millions of live animals and body parts are transported legally across borders and although wildlife trade is difficult to value, the legal market possesses a value that is estimated to be between €150 billion and €300 billion. This disparity exists due to different reports including or excluding certain sectors of trade (Engler & Parry-Jones, 2007;Symes, McGrath, Rao, & Carrasco, 2018). Notwithstanding this significant volume, the socioeconomic implications of wildlife trade are not yet fully understood (Burivalova et al., 2017). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Today, the demand for exotic pets, namely reptiles, amphibians, and birds, has increased so dramatically that their global trade (both wild and captive-bred) has transformed into a multi-billion-euro market. Along with this immense volume of trade, a range of associated risks that threaten animal welfare, human health, and ecosystem balance exist. Presently, the exotic pet market within Malta remains unexplored, allowing for considerable gaps in knowledge related to its dynamics, trends, issues, management, and regulatory priorities. This study aims to fill these knowledge gaps and present a detailed assessment of this market. This was achieved through the employment of a mixed-methods approach consisting of in-depth interviews with exotic pet experts, experiential research in pet shops, data mining on social media, and an online survey targeting exotic pet owners. Analysis of findings demonstrates that Malta's exotic pet market faces several key issues which necessitate addressing. Firstly, the welfare of exotic animals is threatened by the inadequate management, regulation, and (lack of) enforcement associated with Malta's pet shops, local private sellers, and facilities for seized exotic animals at Border Inspection Posts. Next, this study highlights the need for the development of a terrestrial vertebrate risk analysis model to reduce the likelihood of possible biological invasions taking place throughout Malta's natural environment through its exotic pet market. Lastly, efforts to increase awareness and knowledge among the Maltese public regarding both best practices and risks associated with exotic pets should be prioritized.
... redlist of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Despite stringent laws, illegal wildlife trade continues unabated since it involves low risks and high returns. Hence in order to understand the complex network nature of wildlife crime, it is necessary to implement multifaceted wildlife crime investigation (Challender et. al, 2015;Symes et. al, 2017). It is necessary to establish the identity of seized samples for effective legal prosecution and better enforcement of wildlife laws. ...
Preprint
India is the second largest country in Asia that is home to a number of animal and plants species, among them members of the infra-order pecora is the most widely distributed. In Indian subcontinent currently 24 ungulate species representing three different family Cervidae (7 species), Bovidae (16 species) and Moschidae (1 species) present. All 24 species are included under different schedules of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India as well as their trade being regulated and under CITES and population monitored by the IUCN. The aim of the present study was to construct a reference data base of Indian ungulate through DNA barcode approach and phylogenetic assessment. Therefore, in the present study we targeted 86 known sequences (6 sequences repressing 5 species included from GenBank) of the 24 ungulate species inhabiting in India and amplified recommended barcoding specific Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) mitochondrial loci (640bp). We observed 21 fixed species-specific regions in 24 ungulate species. Furthermore, the average mean sequences divergence among species, genus and family were 0.142±0.017, 0.143±0.018 and 0.155±0.019. The neighbour-joining based tree topology clearly resolved families, genera and species into three distinct clades. The identified DNA barcoding region of ungulate species in India will be helpful for assigning species from unknown samples in forensic cases and the reference database generated will be useful for planning conservation management strategies. Additionally, more data would help provide an evolutionary insight and phylogenetic affinity with other closely related species.
... Analysis of seizure data is increasingly used to gain better insight into wildlife trade (Rosen & Smith 2010, Siriwat & Nijman 2018, Symes et al. 2018. We analysed seizures of White-rumped Shama in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam between January 2008 and June 2018. ...
Technical Report
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Owing to its remarkable singing ability, the White-rumped Shama (Kittacincla malabarica) is a particularly popular species in the SouthEast Asian cage-bird trade. Despite domestic trade being regulated in six out of nine SouthEast Asian range states, demand continues to put a heavy strain on the region's White-rumped Shama populations. The lack of international regulation further facilitates unsustainable trade in the species. We gathered data from seizure records, market surveys and online surveys to assess domestic and international trade dynamics and to suggest appropriate conservation responses to both. Combined data from surveys across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, carried out between 2007 and 2018, found a total of 8,271 White-rumped Shama for sale openly in local bird markets. Another 917 were found for sale online in six snapshot internet trade studies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand between 2016 and 2018. In addition, 432 seizures were recorded between 2008 and 2018, involving 15,480 birds; significantly, 291 of these occurred between January 2014 and June 2018. Of all recorded seizure incidents, 12% involved international trade and accounted for 67% (10,376) of all White-rumped Shama seized. Because most seizure records are incomplete, the true figure is likely to be much higher. We strongly recommend that White-rumped Shama be listed in Appendix II of CITES and that, as a stopgap measure, the range states list the species in Appendix III of CITES. Such CITES listings would facilitate improved documentation and assessment of the White-rumped Shama trade and provide authorities with a much-needed tool to combat unsustainable international trade in the species.
... The global illicit wildlife trade is threatening the survival of endangered species (Rosen and Smith 2010;Lenzen et al. 2012;Chan et al. 2015;Symes et al. 2018). Chelonians have been commodified around the world for a wide range of purposes, including as medicine, delicacies, and collector's items (Zhou and Jiang 2008;Chen et al. 2009; Barrios-Garrido et al. 2017), and are a heavily exploited taxon in the global pet trade (Gong et al. 2009;Lyons et al. 2013). ...
Article
The Internet is being exploited as a medium for illegal wildlife trade, and protected wildlife can now be sold and bought across social media and e-commerce platforms. This article is a 13-mo study on the online trade of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)–listed chelonians on a localized Hong Kong website. During this period, more than 400 posts were collected, with more than 300 posts selling CITES-listed chelonians. Based on our findings, we give 2 general recommendations in enforcing the online illegal wildlife trade: 1) increase knowledge of CITES regulations on pet trade forums and 2) introduce digital solutions to monitor pet trade forums.
... Wildlife trade can be legal, illegal, or a combination of both, depending on how a species is classified as it moves throughout the market chain [59]. Legal wildlife trade can also be difficult to monitor due to unintentional mistakes, such as inadequate record keeping [60,61], and mislabelling of species [59]. This creates opportunity for crossover and intentional fraudulent activity, such as when legal operations, including wildlife farms, act as "cover" to launder poached wildlife [62]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Covid-19 outbreak has brought about fresh and intensified scrutiny of the wildlife trade, which substantively involves commerce in exotic pets. In response, major policy decisions involving trade bans have ensued, with calls for similar such action to be applied across the trade chain. Yet, these measures have been criticised, largely based on concerns that they risk exacerbating poverty, undermining human rights, damaging conservation incentives, and otherwise harming sustainable development and conservation efforts. Instead, many critics propose improved regulation of the status quo, with the intention of nurturing a legal, sustainable, safe, humane, and equitable wildlife trade. Herein, we provide a countering view that outlines how the risks presented by the wildlife trade are becoming increasingly recognised as being both manifold and severe; and raise concerns that the goal of a well-regulated wildlife trade is becoming increasingly exposed as a mirage. We conclude that while pursuing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (with their focus on poverty alleviation, food security, public health, and conservation) is enduringly vital, a flourishing wildlife trade is not. Given that the exploitation of wildlife, including for the pet trade, has been identified as one of the dominant drivers of biodiversity loss, emergence of zoonotic infectious disease, animal suffering, and financial instability, perpetuating the concept of utilising a regulated wildlife trade as the default approach to protect people and planet is in urgent need of re-evaluation.
... Although data are not fully available for domestic trade, the international legal wildlife trade has increased 500% in value since 2005, and 2,000% since the 1980s 322,323 (Figure 6), albeit that a proportion of this increase may reflect enhanced sustainable captive breeding or ranching 324 . This information, case study data and analysis of trends suggest that the legal wildlife trade is, in many cases, unsustainable and a continuing threat to biodiversity conservation 325,326 . About a quarter of all wild terrestrial vertebrate species are traded globally 327 . ...
Technical Report
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The IPBES Bureau and Multidisciplinary Expert Panel, in the context of the extraordinary situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and considering the role that IPBES can play in strengthening the knowledge base on biodiversity, decided that IPBES would organize a “Platform workshop” on biodiversity and pandemics, in accordance with the procedures for the preparation of IPBES deliverables, in particular decision IPBES-3/3, annex I, section 6.1. on the organization of Platform workshops. This workshop, held virtually on 27-31 July 2020, provided an opportunity to review the scientific evidence on the origin, emergence and impact of COVID-19 and other pandemics, as well as on options for controlling and preventing pandemics, with the goal to provide immediate information, as well as enhance the information IPBES can provide to its users and stakeholders in its ongoing and future assessments. This workshop report supports IPBES Plenary-approved activities, and is considered supporting material to authors in the preparation of ongoing or future IPBES assessments, and, in particular, in the preparation of the scoping report for a future thematic assessment of the interlinkages among biodiversity, water, food and health (decision IPBES-7/1, II). The workshop brought together 22 experts from all regions of the world, to discuss 1) how pandemics emerge from the microbial diversity found in nature; 2) the role of land-use change and climate change in driving pandemics; 3) the role of wildlife trade in driving pandemics; 4) learning from nature to better control pandemics; and 5) preventing pandemics based on a “One Health” approach. The workshop participants selected by the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel included 17 experts nominated by Governments and organizations following a call for nominations and 5 experts from the ongoing IPBES assessment of the sustainable use of wild species, the assessment on values and the assessment of invasive alien species, as well as experts assisting with the scoping of the IPBES nexus assessment and transformative change assessments. In addition, resource persons from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the World Health Organization (WHO) attended the workshop. This workshop report has been prepared by all workshop participants and been subjected to several rounds of internal review and revisions and one external peer review process. Technical support to the workshop has been provided by the IPBES secretariat. IPBES thanks the Government of Germany for the provision of financial support for the organization of the workshop and production of the report.
... In Indonesia, this has already resulted in the (near) depletion of several species encompassing tigers, pangolins, reptiles, freshwater turtles, etc (Lyons and Natusch 2011;Auliya et al. 2016;Shepherd et al. 2016;Janssen and Chng 2018;Morgan 2018;Wong and Krishnasamy 2019;Nijman et al. 2019;Rheint et al. 2019;Latinne et al. 2020). Lesser-known species are particularly vulnerable as trade often goes undetected (Alves et al. 2008;Nijman and Bergin 2017;Symes et al. 2018;Janssen and Gomez 2019;Janssen and Gomez 2021). Similarly, the commercial international trade in non-CITES listed species is also poorly documented, regulated or monitored; and this data gap presents a considerable conservation risk as understanding trade dynamics and its impact on these species is extremely difficult. ...
Article
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Indonesia is home to five species of porcupines, three of which are island endemics. While all five species are currently assessed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, impacts of harvest and trade have not been factored in. To gain a fuller understanding of the porcupine trade in Indonesia, this study examines seizure data of porcupines, their parts and derivatives from January 2013 to June 2020. A total of 39 incidents were obtained amounting to an estimated 452 porcupines. Various confiscated commodities revealed porcupines are traded for consumption, traditional medicine, trophies/charms as well as for privately run wildlife/recreational parks. Targeted hunting of porcupines for commercial international trade was also evident. Porcupines are also persecuted as agricultural pests and wildlife traffickers take advantage of such situations to procure animals for trade. What clearly emerges from this study is that porcupines are being illegally hunted and exploited throughout their range in Indonesia facilitated by poor enforcement and legislative weakness. Porcupines are in decline due to habitat loss, retaliatory killings and uncontrolled poaching. It is therefore crucial that effective conservation measures are taken sooner rather than later to prevent further depletion of these species. Including all porcupines as protected species under Indonesian wildlife laws and listing them in Appendix II of CITES to improve regulation, enforcement and monitoring of domestic and international trade trends involving porcupines in Indonesia would contribute significantly towards this end.
... Some important conservation effort was mall-clawed and smooth-coated otters; the black crowned crane; garden, horned and pygmy lizards; Grenadines clawed gecko; two box turtles and the Annam leaf turtle; the star and pancake tortoises; and two swallowtail butterflies were added under appendix I under CITEs. The conference of the parties have been developing the plan and strategy to implement agreement and decision because they are the responsible to protect the wildlife accordingly (Symes et al., 2018). Though main aim of such international treaty is to ensure to control the illegal wildlife trade in the country, it is challenging and precarious issues. ...
Article
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Study was objectively conducted to assess status, trend, confiscated and seized trophy of wildlife fauna and its legitimate deed. Division forest offices of Kathmandu, Lalitpure and Bhaktapur were taken for study area. The dimensions of the captured trophies were measured, 25 key informants were interviewed. Similarly, documents like register, cases filed and decision register were reviewed. Result showed that, Panthera tigris, Uncia uncial, Neofelis nebulosa, Canis lupus, Prionailurus bengalensis and Gavialis gangeticus were key illegally traded species. Altogether 327 wildlife trophies were captured in Kathmandu valley. Illegally captured fauna were 12 mammals, 1 bird, 3 reptiles falls under endangered categories of IUCN Red List and 7 species were listed under endangered of IUCN Red list following by CITES I. Total 97 trophies (32%) fall under mega carnivores. Total weight of confiscated scales of Pangolin was 47.74kg in Kathmandu valley. It was 140cm length and 36cm breadth of captured leopard in Kathmandu district. Kruskal Wallis test showed that, there was significant difference in number of confiscated body parts captured in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts at 95% confidence level. Total 381 cases were recorded in Kathmandu valley. Coefficient variances of case registered were 0.162, 0.264 and 0.212 in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts respectively. MannKenall’s tau b correlation showed that value of correlation coefficient were 0.587,0.305 and 0.554 in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts respectively. Total 698 persons were involved in wildlife crime. Maximum charge was US $1,626.90 in Bhaktapure district and maximum imprisonment period was 79 months in Kathmandu. Key words: Illegal Trade, Status, Registered Cases, Trend, deed, Management Options
... Illegal trade of wildlife is one of the most significant threats to biodiversity (Symes et al. 2018). Birds are the most illegally traded taxa in Latin America, Africa, and Australia (UNODC 2016; Charity, S., Ferreira 2020). ...
Article
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Parrot egg seizure is frequent, and its impact on the population cannot be quantified due to difficulties in identifying the transportation of the eggs by traffickers. Morphological identification of species in eggs is difficult, especially when the embryos are not viable. In this context, DNA barcoding is an alternative for species identification. In May 2018, 31 eggs were seized at the Manaus/AM airport, Brazil and suspected to be parrot eggs. These eggs did not hatch and were sent for species genetic identification. After DNA extraction with the salting-out protocol, fragments of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene were amplified. DNA barcodes were sequenced, and the results were compared with cytochrome oxidase I (COI) sequences deposited at the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD). All eggs, except for one, were identified as Graydidascalus brachyurus, a neotropical parrot considered “not threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but this species is highly trafficked. Calculating the threshold for each generated sequence was fundamental for the reliability of species identification, as the traditional 98–99% sequence similarity pattern is not applicable to all taxa. Each country has specific legislations concerning wildlife trafficking, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates wildlife trade internationally. In Brazil, the penalty is higher in case of species threatened by illegal trade, but it is still not effective. Findings of this study highlight the need for strategies to protect non-threatened species, thereby preventing more species from becoming endangered. Clinical Trials Registration Not applicable.
... According to Duffy, St John, Büscher and Brockington [2], poverty is the main reason for illegal wildlife hunting by locals, who then sell the hunted wildlife at high prices as a source of income. CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, reports that international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per year, affecting hundreds of millions of animal and plant specimens [3,4]. It is important to alleviate poverty among local people to save wildlife. ...
Article
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If responsible ecotourists stay in a local homestay, this will benefit local people economically and lead to improved wildlife conservation. This study aims to examine the mediator roles of attitudes between anticipated emotion and intention. It was conducted in Penang National Park, Malaysia, and a stratified sampling method was used for collecting the data. In all, 320 sets of questionnaires were analysed using the SPSS Amos 24.0 Statistical Software Package to test the Structural Equation Modelling. The findings show that economically responsible ecotourist attitudes to staying in local homestays for wildlife conservation partially mediate the relationship between anticipated emotion and intention to stay in a local homestay for wildlife conservation. This study suggests that players in the ecotourism industry should incorporate emotional elements in their marketing strategies to promote local homestays to responsible ecotourists, which would benefit local economies.
... 1192 1193 These considerations may, however, be too complex to be actively explored within the 1194 framework of the EU. We highlighted that there are many internationally traded species/species 1195 groups with sales in the EU where unsustainable trade has been detected (cf. Symes et al. 2018), 1196 that could be regulated more easily. Governmental priorities within transnational cooperation 1197 projects should develop common methodological approaches that include genetics (species 1198 identification and origin) and biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease. ...
Preprint
The commercial trade in frogs and their body parts is global, dynamic, and occurs in extremely large volumes (in the thousands of tonnes/yr or billions of frogs/yr). The European Union remains the single largest importer of frogs’ legs, with most frogs still caught from the wild. Among the many drivers of species extinction or population decline (e.g., due to habitat loss, climate change, disease, etc.), overexploitation is becoming increasingly more prominent. Because ofglobal declines and extinctions, new attention is being focused on these markets, in part to try to ensure sustainability. While the trade is plagued by daunting realities of data deficiency and uncertainty, and the conflicts of commercial interests associated with these data, one of the only things that is clear is that EU countries are most responsible for the largest portion the international trade in frogs’ legs of wild species. Over decades of exploitation, the EU imports have contributed to a decline in wild frog populations in an increasing number of supplying countries, such as India and Bangladesh, as well as Indonesia, Turkey, and Albania more recently. However, there have been no concerted attempts by the EU and the export countries to ensure sustainability of this trade. Further work is needed to validate species identities, secure data on wild frog populations, establish reasonable monitored harvest/export quotas and disease surveillance, and ensure data integrity, quality, and security standards for frog farms. Herein, we call upon those countries and their representative governments, to assume responsibility for the sustainability of the trade. The EU should take immediate action to channel all imports through a single centralized database and list sensitive species in the Annexes of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation. Further listing in CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) can enforce international trade restrictions. More joint-efforts are needed to improve regional monitoring schemes before the commercial trade causes irreversible extinctions of populations and species of frogs.
... The international wildlife trade poses one of the greatest threats to species globally (Symes et al., 2018). In several taxa, the extent of illegal trade is estimated to be greater than legal (Sajeva et al., 2013;Norconk et al., 2020;Tittensor et al., 2020), with recommendations for illegal wildlife trade (IWT) to be recognised as a more severe crime within the framework of countries' national legislative systems (UNODC, 2020). ...
... Harfoot extensively study the scale, routes, and sources of wildlife trade based on CITES trade data from 1975 to 2014 for 28,282 species [27]. Symes proposed a gravity-underreporting modelling framework, with which they identified some drivers of wildlife trade and provided a quantitative assessment of trade flows [28]. However, Berec pointed out that certain limitations affect the availability of the CITES Trade Database and put forward several suggestions to improve it [29]. ...
Article
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The illegal wildlife trade is resulting in worldwide biodiversity loss and species’ extinction. It should be exposed so that the problems of conservation caused by it can be highlighted and resolutions can be found. Social media is an effective method of information dissemination, providing a real-time, low-cost, and convenient platform for the public to release opinions on wildlife protection. This paper aims to explore the usage of social media in understanding public opinions toward conservation events, and illegal rhino trade is an example. This paper provides a framework for analyzing rhino protection issues by using Twitter. A total of 83,479 useful tweets and 33,336 pieces of users’ information were finally restored in our database after filtering out irrelevant tweets. With 2422 records of trade cases, this study builds up a rhino trade network based on social media data. The research shows important findings: (1) Tweeting behaviors are somewhat affected by the information of traditional mass media. (2) In general, countries and regions with strong negative sentiment tend to have high volume of rhino trade cases, but not all. (3) Social celebrities’ participation in activities arouses wide public concern, but the influence does not last for more than a month. NGOs, GOs, media, and individual enterprises are dominant in the dissemination of information about rhino trade. This study contributes in the following ways: First, this paper conducts research on public opinions toward wildlife conservation using natural language processing technique. Second, this paper offers advice to governments and conservationist organizations, helping them utilize social media for protecting wildlife.
... Additionally, because illegal trade is a serious threat to species survival globally (Scheffers et al., 2019;Symes et al., 2018) and ecological competition may threaten local species (Santos et al., 2021), resulting in putative suppression of both rare genotypes and local adaptations (Jaffé et al., 2016), to study, monitor, and quantify the online commerce of stingless bees should be a priority in conservation strategies. ...
Article
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Stingless bees are commercialised in Brazil through the internet. Such trade has mixed populations and introduced species, allows the potential dissemination of hitchhiker symbionts and diseases, and mostly does not follow national legislation policies. • At least 33 species of stingless bees have been exploited by e-commerce; eight others were not confirmed. All transactions found are in the surface web and most sellers do not fulfil legal requirements. Such results suggest that there is little need of anonymity for sellers, a fact that strengthens conclusions on the recurrently reported lack of successful law enforcement against illegal wildlife trade in the country. • Critical geographical zones in Brazil, where sellers of stingless beehives are concentrated , are primarily in the Atlantic Forest. Urgent policy measures and scientific evaluations are necessary for both conservation of bees and risk control of pathogens. The most promising strategy to avoid the threats regarding movement of bees is the education of stingless bee keepers.
... Wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, has facilitated the introduction of species to new regions, where they compete with native species for resources, may destroy crops and damage infrastructure such as dams and ultimately may alter whole ecosystems (Pyšek et al. 2020). The international trade in wildlife has intensified in recent decades (Symes et al. 2018) and this is especially true for the trade in birds in Southeast Asia (Shepherd 2006;Leupen et al. 2020). While much of the focus on the trade in birds is on the negative effects trade has on populations of imperilled species (Van Balen and Nijman 2004;Eaton et al. 2015;Harris et al. 2017;Nijman et al. 2018), several studies explicitly addressed how this trade facilitates the introduction of invasive alien species (Blackburn et al. 2009;Iqbal et al. 2014;Jackson et al. 2015;Reino et al. 2017;Vall-llosera and Cassey 2017;Souviron-Priego et al. 2018;Lockwood et al. 2019;Du et al. 2022), many of which are of less conservation concern. ...
Article
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In Southeast Asia, mynas (genus Acridotheres ) are amongst the most invasive bird species. Information is largely lacking as to where they have established themselves. The spread of invasive, non-native mynas is partially or largely driven by the massive trade in these species as songbirds. While preventing unintentional introductions early is the most effective management option, these species continue to be traded in bird markets throughout the region. We focus on the trade of native and non-native species of mynas, and the establishment of non-native mynas on the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali, and Lombok. Between 2016 and 2019, through field surveys and use of citizen science data (e.g., Burungnesia, iNaturalist, birding reports), we assessed where non-native mynas have been recorded in the wild on these three islands; through bird market surveys we established in which cities these birds are traded. We recorded common myna in Yogyakarta, one of our three survey areas. Combining all records, the areas where alien invasive mynas are established are Greater Jakarta (common and jungle myna), Yogyakarta (common myna), Bali (common and bank myna) and Lombok (common and Javan myna). Two-thirds of the records come from farmlands, home gardens and urbanised areas. In the bird markets, we recorded ~ 23,000 mynas of five species for sale, with Greater Jakarta, Bali and Lombok standing out as areas with high numbers of potentially invasive alien species offered for sale. Restrictions on the sale of wild-caught birds are not adhered to. Well-intended policies concerning the breeding and sale of legally protected species, whereby 10% of the stock is bred to be released in the wild, exacerbate the risk of the establishment of non-native species. We surmise that one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of the accidental or deliberate release of potentially invasive alien mynas (and indeed other birds) into the wild is for governments and conservationists to work more closely with the retailers who hold the key to informing and educating consumers.
... The global trade in wildlife is a highly lucrative industry that is driven by increasing demand in certain countries, with large volumes of wildlife and their derivatives being traded both internationally and domestically (Tingley et al. 2017, Symes et al. 2018, Di Minin et al. 2019. Birds are the most heavily traded taxa in the live animal industry (Bush et al. 2014). ...
Article
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The practice of keeping birds is a long-held tradition in Southeast Asia, including in Singapore. Beyond market surveys that have documented Singapore's sizeable bird market, there is a compelling need to understand the underlying drivers of demand for songbirds, and how these are influenced by social factors. We conducted semi-structured surveys of 114 songbird owners in Singapore, so as to determine their behaviour, demography, and preferences for owning songbirds and mapped Singapore's songbird trade network. Forty-four percent of respondents reported to not prefer either wild-caught or captive-bred birds and another 37% preferred captive-bred birds. Over half (51%) did not think that there were any differences in the singing capabilities of the songbird from either source. Influence from family members and close contacts were cited as the most influential motivational factor for bird-keeping. The majority of respondents were middle-aged (77% aged 40 and above), and two-thirds (67%) were of Chinese ethnicity. Purchasing power and socioeconomic status were not deemed to be strong considerations for owning songbirds. Neither was songbird ownership regarded as a status symbol, in contrast to parrot ownership in Singapore. Instead, social factors played influential roles in the songbird community, shaping the way owners gather, interact, and trade at bird shops and bird cage hanging spots. This study offers novel insights into the motivations underlying songbird ownership and its complex community linkages. We advocate for conservation interventions to target specific demographic groups that are embedded and influenced by communities so as to promote sustainable trade in songbirds.
... W ildlife crime represents a major threat to global biodiversity [1][2][3][4] . Many protected vertebrates, invertebrates and plants are targets for illegal activities when they have economic value [5][6][7] or when they are perceived to threaten livelihoods [8][9][10] . ...
Article
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Identifying patterns of wildlife crime is a major conservation challenge. Here, we test whether deaths or disappearances of a protected species, the hen harrier, are associated with grouse moors, which are areas managed for the production of red grouse for recreational shooting. Using data from 58 satellite tracked hen harriers, we show high rates of unexpected tag failure and low first year survival compared to other harrier populations. The likelihood of harriers dying or disappearing increased as their use of grouse moors increased. Similarly, at the landscape scale, satellite fixes from the last week of life were distributed disproportionately on grouse moors in comparison to the overall use of such areas. This pattern was also apparent in protected areas in northern England. We conclude that hen harriers in Britain suffer elevated levels of mortality on grouse moors, which is most likely the result of illegal killing.
... A comprehensive account of IWT was made using 12 years of seizure records collated by TRAFFIC, identifying significant trade routes [28]. IWT has also been studied through models attempting to account for seizure underreporting [29]. TRAFFIC seizure records have also been combined with biodiversity transect surveys to understand declines in ploughshare tortoises in Madagascar [30], and the relationships between legal and illegal trade have been studied using a combination of CITES, LEMIS, and EU-TWIX data [31]. ...
Article
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Illegal wildlife trade is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Understanding its economic value is a first step to establishing the magnitude of the problem. We develop a dataset of illegal wildlife trade prices and combine it with seizure data to estimate the economic value of illegal wildlife trade entering the USA. Using 2013 as a reference year, the results reveal that the economic value of illegal wildlife trade entering the USA was, using a conservative scenario where potential outliers were excluded, US$3.2 billion/year (uncertainty range (UR) 5th and 95th percentile of US$0.6-8.2 billion/year) and, without excluding potential outliers, US$4.3 billion/year (UR of US$1.3-9.6 billion/year). Our results for the USA alone are of a comparable magnitude to the lower bound of commonly used global estimates of the economic value of IWT of uncertain origin, suggesting that the global economic value of IWT is currently underestimated and requires an urgent revision.
... The international trade in wildlife has intensified in recent decades, both in number of species that are traded, the number of individuals that are traded and the number of countries that are involved [1]. This is especially true for the trade in ornamental birds in Southeast Asia [2][3][4][5]. Several studies explicitly address how this trade facilitates the introduction of invasive non-native species [6][7][8][9][10][11]. We here use the term 'invasive non-native species' (also referred to as 'invasive alien species' or just 'invasive species') to refer to species that have been introduced, accidentally or intentionally, outside of their natural geographic range and that have interfered with the native resident species [12][13][14]. ...
Article
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The wildlife trade has facilitated the introduction of invasive non-native species, which may compete with native species for resources and alter ecosystems. Some of these species have great potential to become invasive if released or escaped from captivity. Here we studied the pet trade in a group of open countryside birds, the mynas (Acridotheres spp.) in Indonesia, and identified the areas that are at high risk of facing the establishment of these species. Mynas are among the most invasive birds in Southeast Asia. Once established in a new area, they are almost impossible to eradicate and can have strong negative impacts on the ecosystem. Preventing their introduction is therefore essential. Yet, invasive non-native mynas continue to be traded openly. We present data on the trade in seven species of mynas on Java, Bali and Lombok, with three species being native to parts of one or two of these islands, but not to the remainder, and four that are non-native to the region. From 2016 to 2021 we conducted 255 surveys of 30 animal markets. We recorded over 6000 mynas that were offered for sale outside their native range. Areas most at risk because of their high prevalence in specific animal markets, are Greater Jakarta, eastern Java, Bali and Lombok. The number of invasive non-native mynas recorded was positively related to the size of the animal market. Indonesia is signatory to several international agreements (CBD, ASEAN) that have policies and guidelines to prevent the introduction of invasive non-native species, but compliancy is weak. Annually hundreds and possibly thousands of invasive non-native mynas are released by Indonesian conservation authorities in regions that are outside their native range. Effective management of, and regulation of trade in, potential invasive non-native birds in Indonesia falls short and inadvertently greatly aids both their introduction and establishment.
... To the best of our knowledge, there is no investigation on GDP or the aging index as the drivers behind the global legal trade of parrots. However, a recent study using CITES data demonstrated that GDP can be a common driver in the legal trade of mammalian, avian, and reptilian products between 2004 and 2013 based on gravity modeling (Symes et al., 2018). Some Middle Eastern states appear as a distinct group in our analysis, as they have a relatively young population but also had high quantities of net imports of exotic parrots. ...
Article
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Parrots are the most traded birds internationally, mainly to be used as companion pets, which threatens the global biodiversity. Using the large dataset derived from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we uncovered the spatial-temporal changes in trade volumes and sources of parrots, the topology of the trade network, and the factors behind the global parrot trade in the past 42 years (1975 – 2016). We found that more than 16 million live CITES-listed parrots in 321 species were traded internationally within that period. There were large changes in the temporal trend of global parrot trade volumes and spatial patterns of trade hubs. These changes appeared to be influenced by the trade restrictions in some of the leading traders and the occurrence of pandemic zoonosis, such as the H5N1 avian influenza. Developing states in Western and Southeast Asia have emerged as the most recently developed parrot trade hubs, with South Africa and Europe being some of the major suppliers. The sources of parrots being supplied internationally has also gradually shifted from wild-caught to captive-sourced. Wild-caught individuals of some parrot species, currently classified as Endangered, were traded substantially until 2013. We demonstrated that parrot species with larger wild population sizes, more color morphs, and those in the Least Concern category of the IUCN Red List, were being traded internationally in higher quantities. The GDP per capita and the aging index of states were also correlated with the net import quantities of parrots. Based on our findings, we suggested that greater scrutiny of parrots traded in large volumes, many of which are not monitored in the wild, should be considered. We advocate the uplisting of a few endangered species from Appendix II to I, using an accreditation system to prevent the laundering of wild-caught parrots into captive-bred ones, and conducting more research on newly emerged importers to protect wild parrot populations.
Chapter
Wildlife trafficking threatens the existence of many plant and animal species and accelerates the destruction of wildlife, forests, and other natural resources. It contributes to environmental degradation, destroys unique natural habitats, and deprives many countries and their populations of scarce renewable resources. The more endangered a species becomes, the greater is the commercial value that is put on the remaining specimen, thereby increasing the incentive for further illegal activities. Preventing and supressing the illegal trade in wildlife, animal parts, and plants is presently not a priority in many countries. Despite the actual and potential scale and consequences, wildlife trafficking often remains overlooked and poorly understood. Wildlife and biodiversity related policies, laws, and their enforcement have, for the most part, not kept up with the changing levels and patterns of wildlife trafficking. Poorly developed legal frameworks, weak law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial practices have resulted in valuable wildlife and plant resources becoming threatened. The high demand for wildlife, animal parts, plants, and plant material around the world has resulted in criminal activities on a large scale. Considerably cheaper than legally sourced material, the illegal trade in fauna and flora offers opportunities to reap significant profits. Gaps in domestic and international control regimes, difficulties in identifying illegal commodities and secondary products, along with intricate trafficking routes make it difficult to effectively curtail the trade. Although several international and non-governmental organisations have launched initiatives aimed at bringing international attention to the problem of wildlife trafficking, political commitment and operational capacity to tackle this phenomenon are not commensurate to the scale of the problem. There is, to date, no universal framework to prevent and suppress this crime type and there is a lack of critical and credible expertise and scholarship on this phenomenon. As part of their joint teaching programme on transnational organised crime, the University of Queensland, the University of Vienna, and the University of Zurich examined the topic of wildlife trafficking in a year-long research course in 2018–2019. Students from the three universities researched selected topics and presented their findings in academic papers, some of which have been compiled in this volume. The chapters included in this v edited book address causes, characteristics, and actors of wildlife trafficking, analyse detection methods, and explore different international and national legal frameworks.
Article
Purpose The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the different factors affecting Sino-African trade based on the gravity model, and propose some solutions to improve the problems. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on an extended gravity model, including trade agreement and recession as explanatory variables. The impacts of trade agreement and economic recession on Sino-African imports and exports are examined. Findings The results show that the product of GDP affects African exports to China significantly and negatively, and affects African imports from China positively. Real exchange rate affects African exports to China positively, and affects African imports from China negatively. Population affect African exports to China significantly and positively, and affect African imports from China positively. Recession have negative effects on both African imports from China and exports to China but is only significant for imports. Agreement affects African imports from China and exports to China positively. Our findings confirm the impact of economic recession, and imply that the structure of African product exported to China should be improved, and trade agreements should be reinforced. Originality/value This paper contributes and extends the literature on Sino-African trade by improving the traditional gravity model to include the impact of all trade agreements, and their aggregating effects on trade. The paper also seeks to assess the trade impact of economic recession through a dynamic gravity model approach for which there has been no research done to our knowledge. In this regard, it provides new understanding of the trade pattern between China and Africa, and ways in improving the Sino-African bilateral trade.
Article
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La biodiversidad comprende la variabilidad de organismos y los sistemas ecológicos de los que forma parte, y constituye el sustento de la humanidad. Sin embargo, las actividades humanas han modificado a la biodiversidad en sus distintos niveles a un grado sin precedentes. Por lo cual, el objetivo de este trabajo fue analizar y describir el estado de la biodiversidad global y las cinco importantes causas de su declive: degradación y pérdida del hábitat, introducción de especies exóticas, sobreexplotación de recursos, contaminación y el cambio climático. La crisis actual se califica como la sexta extinción masiva, donde los anfibios y los corales formadores de arrecifes son los que presentan mayor riesgo de desaparecer. Debido a que para los próximos años el panorama no es el mejor, es urgente la toma acciones integrales para relentizar los procesos que dañan la integridad y funcionamiento de la diversidad biológica.
Article
Wildlife trade is a multibillion dollar industry that is driving species toward extinction. Of >31,500 terrestrial bird, mammal, amphibian, and squamate reptile species, ~18% ( N = 5579) are traded globally. Trade is strongly phylogenetically conserved, and the hotspots of this trade are concentrated in the biologically diverse tropics. Using different assessment approaches, we predict that, owing to their phylogenetic replacement and trait similarity to currently traded species, future trade will affect up to 3196 additional species—totaling 8775 species at risk of extinction from trade. Our assessment underscores the need for a strategic plan to combat trade with policies that are proactive rather than reactive, which is especially important because species can quickly transition from being safe to being endangered as humans continue to harvest and trade across the tree of life.
Article
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Nature has the potential to provide wide-ranging economic contributions to society – from ecosystem services to providing income to communities via fair trade of resources. Unsustainable trade in wildlife, however, threatens biodiversity and its ability to support communities and a functioning planet. It is therefore important to have clear systems in place for tracing traded wildlife. Monitoring legal wildlife trade in all species is as important as it is for trade in protected species, since flows of the legal trade correlate with, and provide cover for, illegally traded wildlife. The majority of wildlife trade research is focused on species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The concurrent, considerably larger legal wildlife trade in both CITES and non-CITES-listed species, however, remains unexamined – despite the fact that if mismanaged, it can lead to over-exploitation. Here we analyzed 20 years of data from the UN Comtrade database, aiming to detail the scale, composition, and trends across all taxa of wildlife traded legally, and to indicate opportunities for improvement. From 1997-2016 the value of this trade totaled between US$2.9 and 4.4 trillion. Of this, $ 2.9 trillion wildlife was traded under “specific” codes that specify taxonomic order and below, while around $1.4 trillion was traded under “broad” codes that declare wildlife to taxonomic class and above. The top 10 trading nations/territories accounted for 51.4% of the total value of wildlife traded. The top commercial categories for wildlife trade were seafood (82%), furniture (7%), and fashion (furs and hides) (6%). In these three major categories, vague commodity codes such as “Fish”, “Tropical wood”, and “Other furs” were used to declare 23%, 24% and 26% of items traded, respectively – despite encompassing thousands of species. This lack of granularity imperils biodiversity as trade cannot be comprehensively monitored. We recommend that there is a review of what species are traded under these broad code descriptions, and a distillation of codes to taxonomic Family or Genus level in the next HS Code review period, particularly in the pet, traditional Chinese medicine and furniture categories. In addition, interdisciplinary research into legal wildlife trade should be increased to provide forensic, policy, economic and social solutions to improve trade management.
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Transnational environmental crime has become the largest financial driver of social conflict, with severe implications for peace and security. Sustainable-development frameworks need to overtly recognize and mitigate the risks posed by transnational environmental crime to environmental security.
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The trade in wildlife and wildlife products is one of the leading causes of population decline for thousands of species. It is critical that researchers use all available theories and techniques at hand to tackle this conservation crisis. Here, we integrate current services marketing theory with our existing understanding of behaviour change in wildlife trade research and propose future areas of transdisciplinary research. We first used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta Analysis methodology to perform a systematic literature review of 227 articles from 76 journals to explore the current understanding of value in wildlife trade literature. Our results showed over 90% of articles used the term value to describe monetary worth and no articles provided a definition or justification of this use. We then contribute to scientific discourse by presenting Service Dominant Logic from marketing theory as a novel lens through which to explore consumer behaviour and the concept of value in the wildlife trade. We outline future avenues of research that will improve the ability of conservation practitioners to create meaningful behaviour change and system transformation using a wholly novel conceptualisation that synthesises the two disciplines of marketing and conservation.
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With increasing pressure from wildlife trade, conservation efforts must balance deficiencies in distribution data for species (the Wallacean shortfall) with the risk of increasing accessibility of locality for collectors. The Golden Kaiser-I-Hind (Teinopalpus aureus Mell) is an iconic butterfly restricted to Southeast Asia, popular in trade markets but lacking in ecological and conservation information. We compiled occurrence records and used them to assess multiple threats of T. aureus distribution-wide and at the national level. Results of species distribution models suggest that suitable habitats of T. aureus are montane forests in mid to high elevations in Southern China, Laos and Vietnam. However, habitat networks for the species are poorly connected, with some portions of its distribution experiencing intensive deforestation and threatened by climate change. The trade assessment results showed specimens of T. aureus were available for sale with high prices, indicating potential pressure from trade markets. We also found different conservation statuses and efforts to protect T. aureus across countries; the species is under strict protection in China, moderate protection in Vietnam and has no protection in Laos. Both recorded locations and projected distribution in the three countries were poorly covered by protected areas. These results together demonstrate the importance of distribution data in conservation management of threatened species while highlighting trade-offs inherent in not making location information widely available when trade pressure is present. Finally, we strongly encourage cross-border cooperation in sharing ecological information for consistent conservation management of species under multiple threats from habitat loss, climate change and illegal wildlife trade.
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Wildlife trafficking threatens the existence of many plant and animal species and accelerates the destruction of wildlife, forests, and other natural resources. It contributes to environmental degradation, destroys unique natural habitats, and deprives many countries and their populations of scarce renewable resources. The more endangered a species becomes, the greater is the commercial value that is put on the remaining specimen, thereby increasing the incentive for further illegal activities. Preventing and supressing the illegal trade in wildlife, animal parts, and plants is presently not a priority in many countries. Despite the actual and potential scale and consequences, wildlife trafficking often remains overlooked and poorly understood. Wildlife and biodiversity related policies, laws, and their enforcement have, for the most part, not kept up with the changing levels and patterns of wildlife trafficking. Poorly developed legal frameworks, weak law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial practices have resulted in valuable wildlife and plant resources becoming threatened. The high demand for wildlife, animal parts, plants, and plant material around the world has resulted in criminal activities on a large scale. Considerably cheaper than legally sourced material, the illegal trade in fauna and flora offers opportunities to reap significant profits. Gaps in domestic and international control regimes, difficulties in identifying illegal commodities and secondary products, along with intricate trafficking routes make it difficult to effectively curtail the trade. Although several international and non-governmental organisations have launched initiatives aimed at bringing international attention to the problem of wildlife trafficking, political commitment and operational capacity to tackle this phenomenon are not commensurate to the scale of the problem. There is, to date, no universal framework to prevent and suppress this crime type and there is a lack of critical and credible expertise and scholarship on this phenomenon. As part of their joint teaching programme on transnational organised crime, the University of Queensland, the University of Vienna, and the University of Zurich examined the topic of wildlife trafficking in a year-long research course in 2018–2019. Students from the three universities researched selected topics and presented their findings in academic papers, some of which have been compiled in this volume. The chapters included in this v edited book address causes, characteristics, and actors of wildlife trafficking, analyse detection methods, and explore different international and national legal frameworks.
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The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) regulates trade in over 35,000 species, over 70% of which are orchids. To investigate rule-breaking behavior among traders and buyers in a specific international wildlife trading community, we used direct questions (DQs) and the unmatched count technique (UCT) to survey the orchid growing community about CITES compliance and their knowledge and opinions of the rules. In DQ, 9.9% had smuggled, 4.8% had laundered, and 10.8% had been sent orchids from online purchases without paperwork; UCT estimates did not differ significantly. Growers with greater knowledge of CITES rules were more likely to break them, and there were widespread negative views of CITES among respondents. We recommend targeted enforcement fo-cusing on both online trade and at the point of import, coupled with efforts to encourage traders and end-consumers to engage with discussions on CITES rule implementation
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The Amazon basin is the largest and most species-rich tropical forest and river system in the world, playing a pivotal role in global climate regulation and harboring hundreds of traditional and indigenous cultures. It is a matter of intense debate whether the ecosystem is threatened by hunting practices, whereby an “empty forest” loses critical ecological functions. Strikingly, no previous study has examined Amazonian ecosystem resilience through the per- spective of the massive 20th century international trade in furs and skins. We present the first historical account of the scale and impacts of this trade and show that whereas aquatic species suffered basin-wide population collapse, terrestrial species did not. We link this differential resilience to the persistence of adequate spatial refuges for ter- restrial species, enabling populations to be sustained through source-sink dynamics, contrasting with unremitting hunting pressure on more accessible aquatic habitats. Our findings attest the high vulnerability of aquatic fauna to unregulated hunting, particularly during years of severe drought. We propose that the relative resilience of terres- trial species suggests a marked opportunity for managing, rather than criminalizing, contemporary traditional sub- sistence hunting in Amazonia, through both the engagement of local people in community-based comanagement programs and science-led conservation governance.
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Combating the surge of illegal wildlife trade (IWT) devastating wildlife populations is an urgent global priority for conservation. There are increasing policy commitments to take action at the local community level as part of effective responses. However, there is scarce evidence that in practice such interventions are being pursued and there is scant understanding regarding how they can help. Here we set out a conceptual framework to guide efforts to effectively combat IWT through actions at community level. This framework is based on articulating the net costs and benefits involved in supporting conservation vs supporting IWT, and how these incentives are shaped by anti-IWT interventions. Using this framework highlights the limitations of an exclusive focus on "top-down", enforcement-led responses to IWT. These responses can distract from a range of other approaches that shift incentives for local people toward supporting conservation rather than IWT, as well as in some cases actually decrease the net incentives in favour of wildlife conservation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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The trade in wild animals involves one third of the world's bird species and thousands of other vertebrate species. While a few species are known to be imperiled as a result of the wildlife trade, the lack of field studies makes it difficult to gauge how serious a threat it is to biodiversity. We combined data on changes in bird abundances across space and time with trapper interviews to evaluate the effects of trapping wild birds for pets in Sumatra, Indonesia, an international pet trade hotspot. In southern Sumatra we analyzed bird abundance changes over time using a rare 14-year dataset of repeated bird surveys from the same extensive forest. In northern Sumatra we surveyed birds along a gradient of trapping accessibility, from the edge of roads to five km into the forest interior. We also interviewed 49 bird trappers in northern Sumatra to learn which species they target and how far they go into the forest to trap. We found that market price was a significant predictor of species declines over time in southern Sumatra, implicating the pet trade in those declines. In northern Sumatra, we found no relationship between price and change in abundance as a function of remoteness. However, high-value species were rare or absent across our surveys there. Notably, the median maximum distance trappers went into the forest each day was 5.0 km. This suggests that trapping has depleted bird populations across our remoteness gradient. Alarmingly, we found that less than half of Sumatra's remaining forests are >5km from a major road. These results indicate that trapping for the pet trade is a threat to birds in Sumatra. Given the popularity of pet birds across Southeast Asia, additional studies are urgently needed to determine the extent and magnitude of the threat posed by the pet trade. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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The current study analyses seizures made at US ports of entry between 2003 and 2013, with the aim to identify concentrations of illegal wildlife imports into the United States. Findings show that 94% of species seized belong to six groups – mammals, molluscs, birds, reptiles, fish and coral – with mammals and reptiles making up more than half of all seizure incidents. Additionally, most seized wildlife is imported as leather products, medicinal products and as meat. The majority of seizures emanate from six countries, and illegal wildlife is primarily brought to the US via airline baggage. Temporal trends of wildlife seizures point to increases in the seizures of all groups of species, with the exception of birds. Based on these findings, we recommend using situational crime prevention techniques at US ports of entry to reduce opportunities that enable this trade.
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Colombia is the country with the largest number of bird species worldwide, yet its avifauna is seriously threatened by habitat degradation and poaching. We built a DNA barcode library of nearly half of the bird species listed in the CITES appendices for Colombia, thereby constructing a species identification reference that will help in global efforts for controlling illegal species trade. We obtained the COI barcode sequence of 151 species based on 281 samples, representing 45.8% of CITES bird species registered for Colombia. The species analyzed belong to nine families, where Trochilidae and Psittacidae are the most abundant ones. We sequenced for the first time the DNA barcode of 47 species, mainly hummingbirds endemic of the Northern Andes region. We found a correct match between morphological and genetic identification for 86-92% of the species analyzed, depending on the cluster analysis performed (BIN, ABGD and TaxonDNA). Additionally, we identified eleven cases of high intraspecific divergence based on K2P genetic distances (up to 14.61%) that could reflect cryptic diversity. In these cases, the specimens were collected in geographically distant sites such as different mountain systems, opposite flanks of the mountain or different elevations. Likewise, we found two cases of possible hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting. This survey constitutes the first attempt to build the DNA barcode library of endangered bird species in Colombia establishing as a reference for management programs of illegal species trade, and providing major insights of phylogeographic structure that can guide future taxonomic research. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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A wide array of wildlife species, including many animals, are used in traditional medicines across many medicinal systems, including in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Due to over-exploitation and habitat loss, the populations of many animals commonly used in TCM have declined and are unable to meet market demand. A number of measures have been taken to try to reduce the impact that this large and growing market for TCM may have on wild animal species. Consumer preferences and behavior are known to play an important role in the consumption and protection of wild animals used in traditional medicine, and thus are likely to be an important factor in the success of many of these mechanisms-particularly given the significant percentage of TCMs that are over-the-counter products (access to which is not mediated by practitioners). In this study we conducted questionnaires and designed stated preference experiments embodying different simulation scenarios using a random sample of the population in Beijing to elicit individuals' knowledge, perceptions and preferences toward wild or farmed animal materials and their substitutes used in traditional Chinese medicine. We found that respondents had a stated preference for wild materials over farm-raised and other alternatives because they believe that the effectiveness of wild-sourced materials is more credible than that of other sources. However, we also found that, although respondents used TCM products, they had a poor understanding of the function or composition of either traditional Chinese medicines or proprietary Chinese medicines (PCM), and paid little attention to the composition of products when making purchasing decisions. Furthermore, awareness of the need for species protection, or "conservation consciousness" was found to play an important role in willingness to accept substitutions for wild animal materials, while traditional animal medicinal materials (TAMs) derived from well-known endangered species, such as bear bile and tiger bone, show relatively higher substitutability. These results suggest that there is still hope for conservation measures which seek to promote a transition to farmed animal, plant and synthetic ingredients and provide clear directions for future social marketing, education and engagement efforts.
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Innovative approaches are needed to combat the illegal trade in wildlife. Here, we used network analysis and a new database, HealthMap Wildlife Trade, to identify the key nodes (countries) that support the illegal wildlife trade. We identified key exporters and importers from the number of shipments a country sent and received and from the number of connections a country had to other countries over a given time period. We used flow betweenness centrality measurements to identify key intermediary countries. We found the set of nodes whose removal from the network would cause the maximum disruption to the network. Selecting six nodes would fragment 89.5% of the network for elephants, 92.3% for rhinoceros, and 98.1% for tigers. We then found sets of nodes that would best disseminate an educational message via direct connections through the network. We would need to select 18 nodes to reach 100% of the elephant trade network, 16 nodes for rhinoceros, and 10 for tigers. Although the choice of locations for interventions should be customized for the animal and the goal of the intervention, China was the most frequently selected country for network fragmentation and information dissemination. Identification of key countries will help strategize illegal wildlife trade interventions.
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Wildlife trafficking, a focus of organized transnational crime syndicates, is a threat to biodiversity. Such crime networks span beyond protected areas holding strongholds of species of interest such as African rhinos. Such networks extend over several countries and hence beyond the jurisdiction of any one law enforcement authority. We show how a federated database can overcome disjoint information kept in different databases. We also show how social network analyses can provide law enforcers with targeted responses that maximally disrupt a criminal network. We introduce an actionable intelligence report using social network measures that identifies key players and predicts player succession. Using a rhino case study we illustrate how such a report can be used to optimize enforcement operations.
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International trade in wildlife is a key threat to biodiversity conservation. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, seeks to ensure international wildlife trade is sustainable, relying on regulatory measures. However, there has been little comprehensive review of its effectiveness and here we review approaches taken to regulate wildlife trade in CITES. Although assessing its effectiveness is problematic, we assert that CITES boasts few measurable conservation successes. We attribute this to: non-compliance, an over reliance on regulation, lack of knowledge and monitoring of listed species, ignorance of market forces, and influence among CITES actors. To more effectively manage trade we argue that interventions should go beyond regulation and should be multi-faceted, reflecting the complexity of wildlife trade. To inform these interventions we assert an intensive research effort is needed around six key areas: (1) factors undermining wildlife trade governance at the national level, (2) determining sustainable harvest rates for, and adaptive management of CITES species, (3) gaining the buy-in of local communities in implementing CITES, (4) supply and demand based market interventions, (5) means of quantifying illicit trade, and (6) political processes and influence within CITES.
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Today record levels of funding are being invested in enforcement and antipoaching measures to tackle the “war on poaching,” but many species are on the path to extinction. In our view, intensifying enforcement effort is crucial, but will ultimately prove an inadequate long-term strategy with which to conserve high-value species. This is because: regulatory approaches are being overwhelmed by the drivers of poaching and trade, financial incentives for poaching are increasing due to rising prices and growing relative poverty between areas of supply and centers of demand, and aggressive enforcement of trade controls, in particular bans, can increase profits and lead to the involvement of organized criminals with the capacity to operate even under increased enforcement effort. With prices for high-value wildlife rising, we argue that interventions need to go beyond regulation and that new and bold strategies are needed urgently. In the immediate future, we should incentivize and build capacity within local communities to conserve wildlife. In the medium term, we should drive prices down by reexamining sustainable off-take mechanisms such as regulated trade, ranching and wildlife farming, using economic levers such as taxation to fund conservation efforts, and in the long-term reduce demand through social marketing programs.
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The gravity equation has been traditionally used to predict trade flows across countries. However, several problems related with its empirical application still remain unsolved. The unobserved heterogeneity, the presence of heteroskedasticity in trade data or the existence of zero flows, which make the estimation of the logarithm unfeasible, are some of them. This paper provides a survey of the most recent literature concerning the specification and estimation methods of this equation. For a dataset covering 80% of world trade, the most widely extended estimators are compared, showing that the Heckman sample selection model performs better overall for the specification of gravity equation selected.
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More than 18% of tropical rainforests are now covered by totally protected areas. If these were well protected, we could feel reasonably confident that current conservation strategies might succeed in preserving a substantial proportion of tropical biodiversity. However, in most parts of the tropics, poachers enter and leave reserves with impunity. On the basis of reports from the hunting literature, it seems likely that a majority of tropical nature reserves may already be considered empty forests—meaning that all bird and mammal species larger than approximately two kilograms—barring a few hunting-tolerant species—have either been extirpated or exist at densities well below natural levels of abundance. The disruption of ecological functions caused by the loss of symbionts further compromises the capacity of these reserves to conserve biodiversity over the long term. A substantial shift toward improving the management and enforcement of tropical protected-area networks is required.
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A trade ban limits supply, therefore raising prices and driving black market poaching.
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In response to significant elephant population declines in the 1970s and 1980s because of poaching for ivory, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in Asian and African elephant species by listing them on Appendix I in 1973 and 1989, respectively. Many southern African countries disagreed with the African elephant trade ban and have continued to argue against it since the mid-1980s. They maintain that their governments practise sound wildlife management policies and actions and, as a consequence, their national elephant populations have reached unsustainable size. They argue that they should not be penalized because other countries cannot manage their wildlife. Further, they say they need the proceeds from ivory and other by-product sales to finance conservation efforts. In 1997, the CITES Conference of Parties voted to allow Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to auction off 50 tonnes of government ivory stockpiles to Japanese traders on a one-off experimental basis, which took place in 1999. Ivory trade opponents allege that this sale stimulated ivory demand, resulting in a surge of elephant poaching. Nevertheless, CITES voted again in 2002 to allow Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to auction off another 60 tonnes of ivory after May 2004. Trade opponents have launched an active campaign to prevent the sales, warning that they could provoke a renewed elephant holocaust. This paper reviews available quantitative evidence on ivory trade and elephant killing to evaluate the arguments of the ivory trade proponents and opponents. The evidence supports the view that the trade bans resulted generally in lower levels of ivory market scale and elephant poaching than prevailed prior to 1990. There is little evidence to support claims that the 1999 southern African ivory auctions stimulated ivory demand or elephant poaching. Levels of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trading in a country are more likely to be related to wildlife management practices, law enforcement and corruption than to choice of CITES appendix listings and consequent extent of trade restrictions. Elephant conservation and public welfare can be better served by legal ivory trade than by a trade ban, but until demand for ivory can be restrained and various monitoring and regulation measures are put into place it is premature for CITES to permit ivory sales.
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The international wildlife trade is a principal cause of biodiversity loss, involving hundreds of millions of plants and animals each year, yet wildlife trade records are notoriously unreliable. We assessed the precision of wildlife trade reports for the United States, the world's largest consumer of endangered wildlife, by comparing data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) with U.S. Customs data. For both U.S. imports and exports, CITES and Customs reported substantially different trade volumes for all taxa in all years. Discrepancies ranged from a CITES-reported volume 376% greater than that reported by Customs (live coral imports, 2000) to a Customs' report 5202% greater than CITES (conch exports, 2000). These widely divergent data suggest widespread inaccuracies that may distort the perceived risk of targeted wildlife exploitation, leading to misallocation of management resources and less effective conservation strategies. Conservation scientists and practitioners should reexamine assumptions regarding the significance of the international wildlife trade.
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Conventional studies of bilateral trade patterns specify a log-normal gravity equation for empirical estimation. However, the log-normal gravity equation suffers from three problems: the bias created by the logarithmic transformation, the failure of the homoskedasticity assumption, and the way zero values are treated. These problems normally result in biased and inefficient estimates. Recently, the Poisson specification of the trade gravity model has received attention as an alternative to the log-normality assumption (Santos Silva & Tenreyro, 2006). However, the standard Poisson model is vulnerable for problems of overdispersion and excess zero flows. To overcome these problems, this paper considers modified Poisson fixed-effects estimations (negative binomial, zero-inflated). Extending the empirical model put forward by Santos Silva & Tenreyro (2006), we show how these techniques may provide viable alternatives to both the log-normal and standard Poisson specification of the gravity model of trade.
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This paper summarizes the methodology of the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project, and related analytical issues. The WGI cover over 200 countries and territories, measuring six dimensions of governance starting in 1996: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption. The aggregate indicators are based on several hundred individual underlying variables, taken from a wide variety of existing data sources. The data reflect the views on governance of survey respondents and public, private, and NGO sector experts worldwide. The WGI also explicitly report margins of error accompanying each country estimate. These reflect the inherent difficulties in measuring governance using any kind of data. Even after taking these margins of error into account, the WGI permit meaningful cross-country and over-time comparisons.
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Human conflict generally has substantial negative impacts on wildlife and conservation. The recent civil war (1995-2006) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resulted in a significant loss of wildlife, including elephants, due to institutional collapse, lawlessness and unbridled exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, wood, ivory and bushmeat. We used data from distance sampling surveys conducted before and after the war in a protected forest, the Okapi Faunal Reserve, to document changes in elephant abundance and distribution. We employed Generalized Additive Models to relate changes in elephant distribution to human and environmental factors. Populations declined by nearly fifty percent coinciding with a major increase in elephant poaching as indicated by reports of ivory trade during the war. Our results suggest that humans influenced elephant distribution far more than habitat, both before and after the war, but post-war models explained more of the variation. Elephant abundance declined more, closer to the park boundary and to areas of intense human activity. After the war, elephant densities were relatively higher in the centre of the park where they were better protected, suggesting that this area may have acted as a refuge. In other sites in Eastern DRC, where no protection was provided, elephants were even more decimated. Post-war dynamics, such as weakened institutions, human movements and availability of weapons, continue to affect elephants. Survival of remaining populations and recovery will be determined by these persistent factors and by new threats associated with growing human populations and exploitation of natural resources. Prioritizing wildlife protection, curbing illegal trade in ivory and bushmeat, and strengthening national institutions and organizations in charge of conservation will be crucial to counter these threats.
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International wildlife trade is one of the leading threats to biodiversity conservation. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is the most important initiative to monitor and regulate the international trade of wildlife but its credibility is dependent on the quality of the trade data. We report on the performance of CITES reporting by focussing on the commercial trade in non-native reptiles and amphibians into Thailand as to illustrate trends, species composition and numbers of wild-caught vs. captive-bred specimens. Based on data in the WCMC-CITES trade database, we establish that a total of 75,594 individuals of 169 species of reptiles and amphibians (including 27 globally threatened species) were imported into Thailand in 1990-2007. The majority of individuals (59,895, 79%) were listed as captive-bred and a smaller number (15,699, 21%) as wild-caught. In the 1990s small numbers of individuals of a few species were imported into Thailand, but in 2003 both volumes and species diversity increased rapidly. The proportion of captive-bred animals differed greatly between years (from 0 to >80%). Wild-caught individuals were mainly sourced from African countries, and captive-bred individuals from Asian countries (including from non-CITES Parties). There were significant discrepancies between exports and imports. Thailand reports the import of >10,000 individuals (51 species) originating from Kazakhstan, but Kazakhstan reports no exports of these species. Similar discrepancies, involving smaller numbers (>100 individuals of 9 species), can be seen in the import of reptiles into Thailand via Macao. While there has been an increase in imports of amphibian and reptiles into Thailand, erratic patterns in proportions of captive-bred specimens and volumes suggests either capricious markets or errors in reporting. Large discrepancies with respect to origin point to misreporting or possible violations of the rules and intentions of CITES.
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The classical Poisson, geometric and negative binomial regression models for count data belong to the family of generalized linear models and are available at the core of the statistics toolbox in the R system for statistical computing. After reviewing the conceptual and computational features of these methods, a new implementation of hurdle and zero-inflated regression models in the functions hurdle() and zeroinfl() from the package pscl is introduced. It re-uses design and functionality of the basic R functions just as the underlying conceptual tools extend the classical models. Both hurdle and zero-inflated model, are able to incorporate over-dispersion and excess zeros-two problems that typically occur in count data sets in economics and the social sciences—better than their classical counterparts. Using cross-section data on the demand for medical care, it is illustrated how the classical as well as the zero-augmented models can be fitted, inspected and tested in practice.
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Stable isotopes are being increasingly used in wildlife forensics as means of determining the origin and movement of animals. The heavy isotope content of precipitated water and snow (deltaD(p), delta(18)O(p)) varies widely and systematically across the globe, providing a label that is incorporated through diet into animal tissue. As a result, these isotopes are potentially ideal tracers of geographic origin. The hydrogen and oxygen isotope tracer method has excellent potential where (1) spatial variation of precipitation isotopes exist, and (2) strong, mechanistic relationships link precipitation and isotope ratios in biological tissue. Here, we present a method for interpolation of precipitation isotope values and use it to create global basemaps of growing-season (GS) and mean annual (MA) deltaD(p) and delta(18)O(p). The use of these maps for forensic application is demonstrated using previously published isotope data for bird feathers (deltaD(f)) in North America and Europe. The precipitation maps show that the greatest potential for applying hydrogen and oxygen isotope forensics exists in mid- to high-latitude continental regions, where strong spatial isotope gradients exist. We demonstrate that deltaD(f)/deltaD(p) relationships have significant predictive power both in North America and Europe, and show how zones of confidence for the assignment of origin can be described using these predictive relationships. Our analysis focuses on wildlife forensics, but the maps and approaches presented here will be equally applicable to criminal forensic studies involving biological materials. These maps are available in GIS format at http://www.waterisotopes.org.
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Gravity equations have been widely used to infer trade flow effects of various institutional arrangements. We show that estimated gravity equations do not have a theoretical foundation. This implies both that estimation suffers from omitted variables bias and that comparative statics analysis is unfounded. We develop a method that (i) consistently and efficiently estimates a theoretical gravity equation and (ii) correctly calculates the comparative statics of trade frictions. We apply the method to solve the famous McCallum border puzzle. Applying our method, we find that national borders reduce trade between industrialized countries by moderate amounts of 20-50 percent.
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Illegal wildlife trade is among the most profitable transnational crimes in the world. In the U.S. fewer than 330 agents from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are tasked with inspecting 72 air and seaports to intercept illicit wildlife products. This paper suggests a risk assessment strategy that utilizes analytical techniques from criminology to wildlife contraband entering the U.S. Using the LEMIS database, 40,113 incidents of seized wildlife products from 2003 to 2012 were identified. Results suggest a disproportionate share of export countries, ports of entry, times and genera account for a majority of incidents. Resource allocation should be prioritized accordingly.
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International wildlife trafficking has garnered increased attention in recent years with a focus on the illicit trade in ivory, rhinos, and other animals from Africa and Asia. Less is known about trafficking in the Americas. By conducting a systematic review of academic literature, popular accounts, and government reports, this case study attempts to identify the scope and methods of wildlife trafficking in the Americas and its connections to organised crime. Unlike arms or drug smuggling, individual operators with minimal connections to other criminal activities dominate the trade. Most perpetrators work independently and have expertise and interests in legitimate businesses involving animal products. Methods of concealment are frequently rudimentary and little appears to be known about primary trafficking routes. Overall, wildlife smuggling in the Western Hemisphere appears to be a small-scale activity, small in its aggregate amounts, and strongly linked to legitimate businesses operating in a low risk and technologically narrow environment.
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There are few published studies quantifying the volume of wildlife being traded through Singapore. We report on Singapore's involvement in the trade of avifauna listed on CITES based on government-reported data to CITES, with particular emphasis on Singapore's role in the trade of the globally threatened African grey parrot Psittacus erithacus . During 2005–2014 Singapore reported commercial import permits for 225,561 birds, from 35 countries, listed on CITES Appendices I and II, and the export of 136,912 similarly listed birds to 37 countries, highlighting the country's role as a major international transshipment hub for the global aviculture industry. Major exporters to Singapore included the Solomon Islands, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa. Major importers from Singapore included Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Japan. Singapore imported significant quantities of CITES-listed birds from African countries, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and South Africa, a number of which have a history of abuse of CITES export permits, discrepancies in reported trade data, or an acknowledged lack of wildlife law enforcement capacity. Significant discrepancies were detected between import and export figures of CITES-listed avifauna reported by Singapore and its trading partners. Based on these findings we present three recommendations to improve the regulation and monitoring of the trade in CITES-listed bird species in Singapore.
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Global trade in illegal wildlife is a growing illicit economy, estimated to be worth at least $5 billion and potentially in excess of $20 billion annually. Some of the most lucrative illicit wildlife commodities include tiger parts, caviar, elephant ivory, rhino horn, and exotic birds and reptiles. Demand for illegally obtained wildlife is ubiquitous, and some suspect that illicit demand is growing. International wildlife smuggling may be of interest to Congress as it presents several potential environmental and national security threats to the United States. Threats to the environment include the potential loss of biodiversity, introduction of invasive species into U.S. ecosystems, and transmission of disease through illegal wildlife trade, including through illegal bushmeat trade. National security threats include links between wildlife trafficking and organized crime and drug trafficking. Some terrorist groups may also be seeking to finance their activities through illegal wildlife trade, according to some experts. Wildlife source and transit countries may be especially prone to exploitation if known to have weak state capacity, poor law enforcement, corrupt governments, and porous borders. The U.S. government addresses illegal wildlife trade through several national and international venues. Congress has passed numerous laws that regulate and restrict certain types of wildlife imports and exports, including the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Lacey Act and Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, and several species-specific conservation laws. These laws and others establish authorities and guidelines for wildlife trade inspection at ports of entry, and wildlife crime law enforcement and prosecution. Internationally, the United States is party to several wildlife conservation treaties, including the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which serves as the primary vehicle for regulating wildlife trade. Foreign training and assistance programs to combat illegal wildlife trade are also conducted by some federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, which leads an international initiative against wildlife trafficking. The role of Congress in evaluating U.S. policy to combat wildlife trafficking is broad. Potential issues for Congress include (1) determining funding levels for U.S. wildlife trade inspection and investigation; (2) evaluating the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid to combat wildlife trafficking; (3) developing ways to encourage privatesector involvement in regulating the wildlife trade; (4) using trade sanctions to penalize foreign countries with weak enforcement of wildlife laws; (5) incorporating wildlife trade provisions into free trade agreements; and (6) addressing the domestic and international demand for illegal wildlife through public awareness campaigns and non-governmental organization partnerships. This book focuses on the international trade in terrestrial fauna, largely excluding trade in illegal plants, including timber, and fish.
Article
Many empirical gravity models are now based on generalized linear models (GLM), of which the poisson pseudo-maximum likelihood estimator is a prominent example and the most frequently used estimator. Previous literature on the performance of these estimators has primarily focussed on the role of the variance function for the estimators’ behavior. We add to this literature by studying the small sample performance of estimators in a data-generating process that is fully consistent with general equilibrium economic models of international trade. Economic theory suggests that (1) importer- and exporter-specific effects need to be accounted for in estimation, and (2) that they are correlated with bilateral trade costs through general equilibrium (or balance-of-payments) restrictions. We compare the performance of structural estimators, fixed effects estimators, and quasi-differences estimators in such settings, using the GLM approach as a unifying framework.
Article
Oceania has a relatively low level of crime prevalence yet in the smaller and under-developed PICs we have shown that transnational crime has become increasingly common. A risk contained but potentially dangerous if state failure or fragility undermines law enforcement capacities. We predict that as the pace of globalization quickens and the demand for raw materials and resources grows some parts of the Pacific will be prone to criminal enterprises run by both indigenous and foreign crime groups. Australia and New Zealand will remain attractors of illicit goods notably ATS but will in turn be source countries for diminishing fish stock such as beche de mere and abalone as well forest timber. Finally the role of states such as Australia and New Zealand in helping to maintain law enforcement capacities throughout the region will be crucial if organized crime in Oceania is to be kept in check while demand for illicit resources grow.
Article
The international community possesses a powerful tool to control wildlife trade—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). For over 20 years it has used trade sanctions as the cornerstone of a unique compliance system that has evolved through practice and secondary rules. This article discusses the mechanisms through which sanctions are imposed and assesses their effectiveness. The CITES compliance system has evolved largely in isolation from other environmental treaties, yet there are lessons that could be learned by other trade-related agreements that are in the process of developing their mechanisms to address non-compliance. CITES is particularly dependent on a sanctions-based approach because of the lack of funds to support capacity building. The article demonstrates through the national legislation project how sanctions used to back-up technical assistance can indirectly build capacity to implement the treaty. It concludes by arguing that guidelines on compliance currently under negotiation risk undermining the CITES compliance system and eroding the gains of the last three decades.
Chapter
In this chapter, we discuss models for zero-truncated and zero-inflated count data. Zero truncated means the response variable cannot have a value of 0. A typical example from the medical literature is the duration patients are in hospital. For ecological data, think of response variables like the time a whale is at the surface before re-submerging, counts of fin rays on fish (e.g. used for stock identification), dolphin group size, age of an animal in years or months, or the number of days that carcasses of road-killed animals (amphibians, owls, birds, snakes, carnivores, small mammals, etc.) remain on the road. These are all examples for which the response variable cannot take a value of 0.
Article
Most independent nations today were part of empires in 1945. Using bilateral trade data from 1948 to 2006, we examine the effect of independence on post-colonial trade. While there is little short-run effect on trade, after four decades trade with the metropole (colonizer) has contracted by about 65%. Hostile separations lead to large, immediate reductions in trade. We also find that trade between former colonies of the same empire erodes as much as trade with the metropole, whereas trade with third countries decreases about 20%. The gradual trade deterioration following independence suggests the depreciation of some form of trading capital.
Article
The global trade in illegal wildlife is a multi-billion dollar industry that threatens biodiversity and acts as a potential avenue for invasive species and disease spread. Despite the broad-sweeping implications of illegal wildlife sales, scientists have yet to describe the scope and scale of the trade. Here, we provide the most thorough and current description of the illegal wildlife trade using 12 years of seizure records compiled by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. These records comprise 967 seizures including massive quantities of ivory, tiger skins, live reptiles, and other endangered wildlife and wildlife products. Most seizures originate in Southeast Asia, a recently identified hotspot for future emerging infectious diseases. To date, regulation and enforcement have been insufficient to effectively control the global trade in illegal wildlife at national and international scales. Effective control will require a multi-pronged approach including community-scale education and empowering local people to value wildlife, coordinated international regulation, and a greater allocation of national resources to on-the-ground enforcement.
The nature and extent of legal and illegal trade in wildlife, in: 451 The Trade in Wildlife: Regulation for Conservation
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Broad, S., Mulliken, T., Roe, D., 2003. The nature and extent of legal and illegal trade in wildlife, in: 451 The Trade in Wildlife: Regulation for Conservation. pp. 3-20.
Opportunity or threat: The role of the European Union in global 476 wildlife trade
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Engler, M., Parry-Jones, R., 2007. Opportunity or threat: The role of the European Union in global 476 wildlife trade.
Making a killing: A 2011 survey of ivory markets in China
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Gabriel, G., Hua, N., Wang, J., 2012. Making a killing: A 2011 survey of ivory markets in China. Int. 478 Fund Anim. Welfare, China.
495 The 2014 environmental performance index
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Hsu, A., Emerson, J., Levy, M., de Sherbinin, A., Johnson, L., Malik, O., Schwartz, J., Jaiteh, M., 2014. 495 The 2014 environmental performance index. New Haven, CT Yale Cent. Environ. Law Policy 496 4701-4735.
pscl: Classes and Methods for R Developed in the Political Science Computational 498 Laboratory
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Jackman, S., 2015. pscl: Classes and Methods for R Developed in the Political Science Computational 498 Laboratory, Stanford University. Department of Political Science, Stanford University.
Illegal Trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn: An Assessment Report to Improve Law Enforcement under the Wildlife TRAPS Project
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Milliken, T., 2014. Illegal Trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn: An Assessment Report to Improve Law Enforcement under the Wildlife TRAPS Project. (USAID and Traffic).
Biodiversity Conservation Indicators: New 519 Tools for Priority-Setting at the Global Environment Facility
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Pandey, K.D., Buys, P., Chomitz, K., Wheeler, D., 2006. Biodiversity Conservation Indicators: New 519 Tools for Priority-Setting at the Global Environment Facility, World Bank Development Research 520 Group Working Paper.