CITES Under the Lens of the IUCN Red List

Lionel Jouvet, Dalia Amor Conde, Johanna Stärk, Ana Rita da Silva, Chris Shepherd

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The illegal international wildlife trade is a major threat to biodiversity by directly diminishing populations numbers. Additional threats are the potential introduction of invasive species and the spread of diseases, either due to intentional or accidental releases of confiscated animals. The international illegal trade it is estimated to be of 8 to 10 billion US Dollars per year. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was established as a mechanism to provide regulatory measured to ensure the sustainable international trade of species. The listing of species under CITES is mainly based on the species extinction risk, on which export quotas are determined. Here we analyzed which species listed in CITES overlap with those listed as threated by human extraction under the IUCN Red List. Additionally, we assessed for how many species it is possible to derive harvesting quotas based on the availability of data on life history traits. Surprisingly, we found that only between 6-8% of the species in CITES overlap with those listed as threatened by trade by the IUCN Red List . An example is the Indonesian Javan giant frog, Limnonectes macrodon, sold in France for their legs. This species is listed as "vulnerable" by IUCN due to international trade, and it is not listed in CITES. Moreover, TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring program from WWF), has documented limitations of ecological and demographical knowledge for many species to set up exporting of quotas. Our data supports this claim, since we found that for the majority of the species listed in CITES, there is not enough data to estimate generation length. We argue that the available legislative frameworks can be significantly strengthened by developing communications techniques between databases, which can flag CITES and IUCN Specialist Groups (SSC) of possible important overlaps to consider. Moreover, with the connection to animal life history databases, and experts from the SSC it will be possible to obtain better data to estimate quotas. These will certainly promote a closer collaboration between the IUCN and CITES. Furthermore, this will ensure a better listing of species in the Red List and CITES annexes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date10. Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 10. Mar 2017
EventDanish OIKOS annual meeting 2017 - København, Denmark
Duration: 10. Mar 201711. Mar 2017


ConferenceDanish OIKOS annual meeting 2017


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