World Wildlife Trade

3 min read

News: According to a study by researchers at University of Florida and the University of Sheffield nearly one in every five species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are bought and sold on the wildlife market globally.

Facts:

Key findings of the Study

  • Out of 31,745 vertebrate species on Earth, 5,579 (18%) are traded — a finding that is 40-60 % higher than previous estimates.
  • Trade in wildlife breaks up as 27% (1,441) of mammal species, 23% (2,345) of bird species, almost 10% (609) of amphibian species and 12% (1,184) of reptiles.
  • Wildlife trade industry generates between $8 billion and 21 billion, pushing some of these species closer to extinction.
  • Trade of wildlife for luxury foods, medicinal parts and as pets are the key factors contributing to the extinction risk faced by of vertebrates globally.
  • Overall for vertebrates, 44% are traded as pets and over 60% as products.

Additional Information:

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

  • It is an international treaty to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade.
  • CITES was drafted after a resolution was adopted at a meeting of the members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963. The text of the Convention was agreed at a meeting in Washington, DC in 1973. The Convention is therefore sometimes referred to as the Washington Convention. CITES came into force in 1975.
  • CITES is legally binding on the Parties, but it does not take the place of national laws.
  • The species covered by CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
    • Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
    • Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
    • Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.