Nav: Home

Thousands of illegally traded wild animals at risk due to gaps in data

October 05, 2016

The fate of over 64,000 live wild animals officially reported to have been confiscated by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) enforcement agencies between 2010 and 2014 remains untraceable, according to a new report released by the University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and World Animal Protection.

In their publication in the open access journal Nature Conservation, the researchers document merely one in three partnering to CITES countries providing any data on seizures, and also highlight the importance of having this changed.

Although the reported number of confiscated animals is staggering, the researchers warn that these are likely to be only a fraction of the actual seizures. The study found two out of three countries did not report any live wildlife seizures, despite poaching of endangered species and supplying the illicit global wildlife trade being estimated to be worth between $8-10 billion per year.

The figures have prompted calls for better reporting of seizures and what happens to confiscated live wild animals.

The ultimate fate of seized live wild animals is unknown, the researchers found. Once animals have been confiscated, national authorities must decide whether to: keep them in captivity, return them to the wild or euthanize them. CITES provides guidelines to aid this decision-making based on the conservation status and welfare needs of the animals.

However, information about the fate of these wild animals is not a formal CITES requirement and as a result, there are no official numbers on just how many were euthanized, placed in captivity or returned to the wild.

Researchers are concerned this lack of data is placing the well-being and survival of seized wildlife at risk - many wild animals could be re-entering the wildlife trafficking industry as they simply can't be accounted for.

University of Oxford's Professor David Macdonald, senior researcher for the study, said:

"We fear this staggering number is just the tip of the iceberg. Only a relatively small proportion of wild animals involved with illegal trade are thought to be intercepted by enforcement agencies - confiscation records were completely missing for 70% of countries Party to CITES. Given the rapidly growing global trends in illegal wildlife trade activity, it is highly unlikely that no live wildlife seizures were made on their borders.

"The records that were provided show that around 20% of all live wild animals reported as seized are currently considered to be threatened by extinction. We strongly recommend that the CITES trade database should include information on the fate of all live wild animal seizures, so we know what happens to these animals, and we can reduce the risk of them re-entering the illegal wildlife trade."

World Animal Protection's Dr Neil D'Cruze, lead researcher for the study, said:

"The illegal wildlife trade is a big, complex and dirty business. National authorities play a key role, facing some tough choices when they seize animals - whether they release them in the wild, place them in care in captivity or euthanize them.

"Improved data recording is critical to knowing what happens to each animal, and can help in looking at the challenges and issues enforcement agencies face in managing animals after seizure. Without this transparency, there's a real possibility that endangered species may be put back into the hands of the same criminals whom they were taken from. We need to be able to account for these wild animals.

"If we're really serious about protecting wildlife, action needs to be taken at all levels. It's unfathomable that 70% of countries recorded no seizures when we know a global, multi-billion wildlife trafficking industry is flourishing."
-end-
The findings and recommendations of this research will be presented at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Johannesburg, South Africa on 27 September 2016 during a side event focused on the confiscation of live wild animals organised by the Species Survival Network (SSN).

Original source:

Citation: D'Cruze N, Macdonald DW (2016) A review of global trends in CITES live wildlife confiscations. Nature Conservation 15: 47-63. doi: 10.3897/natureconservation.15.10005

Additional information:

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. For many years CITES has been among the conservation agreements with the largest membership, with 182 countries currently Parties to the Convention.

CITES WCMC trade database records are available at: http://trade.cites.org/

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), set to take place in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October this year at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of over eighty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Through scientific and legal research, education and advocacy, the SSN is working to prevent over-exploitation of animals and plants due to international trade.

Pensoft Publishers

Related Seizures Articles:

Seizures follow similar path regardless of speed, says study
In a new study in Cell Reports, researchers at Columbia University show that the neurons of mice undergoing seizures fire off in a sequential pattern no matter how quickly the seizure propagates -- a finding that confirms seizures are not the result of neurons randomly going haywire.
Study could help explain link between seizures and psychiatric disorders
In a new study published in Cell Reports, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes identified different types of neurons in a brain region called the reticular thalamus.
Pinpointing where seizures are coming from, by looking between the seizures
A computational approach developed at Boston Children's Hospital, described in the journal Neurosurgery, published online May 2, 2017, could enable more patients with epilepsy to benefit from surgery when medications do not help.
'Silent seizures' discovered in patients with Alzheimer's disease
Deep in the brains of two patients with Alzheimer's disease, the main memory structure, the hippocampus, displays episodic seizure-like electrical activity.
Epilepsy -- why do seizures sometimes continue after surgery?
New research from the University of Liverpool, published in the journal Brain, has highlighted the potential reasons why many patients with severe epilepsy still continue to experience seizures even after surgery.
The heart-brain connection: The link between LQTS and seizures
Patients carrying certain mutations that cause Long QT Syndrome, a rare cardiac rhythm disorder, have an increased risk for developing seizures and have more severe cardiac symptoms.
Breast cancer drug found to reduce seizures
A class of drug that inhibits estrogen production and is used to treat breast cancer has been found to quickly and effectively suppress dangerous brain seizures, according to a new Northwestern University study.
Study suggests new treatment for seizures
Researchers from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., have discovered a new factor in the escalation of seizures: the synthesis, or generation, of estrogens in the brain.
Minisensor is designed to warn of epileptic seizures
For epilepsy patients and attending physicians, it has been a challenge to correctly assess the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures without inpatient recording equipment.
Many stroke survivors may develop seizures
A substantial proportion of stroke survivors develop seizures in the years following their strokes, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.

Related Seizures Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...