Identifying Snake Species Threatened by Economic Exploitation and International Trade in China
Authors: Zhou, Zhihua; Jiang, Zhigang
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 14, December 2005 , pp. 3525-3536(12)
Abstract:It is important to identify endangered species from thousands of species and take conservation measures in time. Many researchers have reported declines and overexploitation of snake species, but it is difficult to identify the species requiring emergency concern. We tried to identify the snake species threatened by economic exploitation in mainland China through the following procedure: First, we identified 16 snake species in significant international trade through analyzing trade records; second, we chose 10 variables representing biological characteristics and economics factors. The values of these variables for each species were evaluated from 0 (minimum risk) to 3 (high risk). Three snake species protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) were also assessed. We then got the priority rank of these species by calculating their average scores. We found that among the species in significant international trade, except those CITES-listed ones, four snake species were at extremely high risk, while all other snake species in significant trade were endangered or vulnerable. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to classify the species into four groups according to their different biological and economic characteristics. This study provides a possible way to identify endangered species and to rank their conservation priority. The results of this paper can also be used as a priority sequence for taking conservation action, especially trade control measures.
Document Type: Research Article
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Publication date: December 2005