More species than you think are part of wildlife trade. These may be next.
New estimates shed light on the surprising makeup of the global wildlife trade.
In recent years, demand for exotic pets, furs, jewelry, and body parts used for traditional medicine has posed a serious threat to animals, including the pangolin and the helmeted hornbill. Yet although trade can rapidly drive a species toward extinction, the report notes, shipping animals across the globe doesn’t always reduce their numbers to unsustainable levels.
By marrying information from various databases on the wildlife trade, study co-lead author Brett Scheffers and colleagues hope their findings will help policymakers consider what vertebrate species require further attention and conservation resources. (Surprisingly, the vast majority of animals in the wildlife trade aren’t protected.)
“We are revealing the sheer magnitude of what this multibillion-dollar industry represents,” says Scheffers, a University of Florida