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STUDY: Sweeping extent of global trade in wild animals revealed

The study found that 5,579 of the 31,745 vertebrate species analyzed are being bought and sold around the world. This includes more than 2,000 birds and nearly 1,500 mammals.

GIORGIA GUGLIELMI: ‘Almost one in five vertebrates that live on land are traded on wildlife markets — a much greater proportion than previously thought. The findings come from one of the most comprehensive studies of the international wildlife trade to date, which surveyed more than 30,000 species of mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile. The authors found the proportion of traded animals to be 40–60% higher than previous estimates had suggested, and predict that it could rise to more than one in four…

Trade in wild animals or animal parts such as skins, bones or meat is a global, multibillion-dollar business that is driving a number of species towards extinction, says co-author Brett Scheffers, a conservation biologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Wild animals are sold as exotic pets or for food, and animal parts, such as pangolin scales, are often used in traditional medicine…

To identify species that are currently traded, the researchers used databases maintained by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whose Red List provides the conservation status of most species.

The team found that 5,579 of the 31,745 vertebrate species analysed — around 18% — are being bought and sold around the world. This includes more than 2,000 birds and nearly 1,500 mammals, many of which are captured illegally from the wild, although the figures also include legal trade… The researchers estimated that a further 3,196 species are at risk because they have similar features to species already on the market’. SOURCE…

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