Towards informed and multi-faceted wildlife trade interventions

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MacMillan, Douglas C. ; Harrop, Stuart R. ; Challender, Daniel W.S. (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Journal: Global Ecology and Conservation, volume 3, pages 129-148 (issn: 2351-9894)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.gecco.2014.11.010
  • Subject: agriculture | law | business | GF075 | geography | GE170 | HC0079.E5 | GN | H | biological | KZ

International trade in wildlife is a key threat to biodiversity conservation. CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, seeks to ensure international wildlife trade is sustainable, relying on trade bans and controls. However, there has been little comprehensive review of its effectiveness and here we review approaches taken to regulate wildlife trade in CITES. Although assessing its effectiveness is problematic, we assert that CITES boasts few measurable conservation successes. We attribute this to: non-compliance, an over reliance on regulation, lack of knowledge and monitoring of listed species, ignorance of market forces, and influence among CITES actors. To more effectively manage trade we argue that interventions should go beyond regulation and should be multi-faceted, reflecting the complexity of wildlife trade. To inform these interventions we assert an intensive research effort is needed around six key areas: (1) factors undermining wildlife trade governance at the national level, (2) determining sustainable harvest rates for, and adaptive management of CITES species, (3) gaining the buy-in of local communities in implementing CITES, (4) supply and demand based market interventions,(5) means of quantifying illicit trade, and (6) political processes and influence within CITES.
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