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An analysis of the live reptile and amphibian trade in the USA compared to the global trade in endangered species

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The trade in wildlife is a globally important industry. Amphibians and reptiles are among the most commonly traded animals and this trade has raised concern because of its potential impact on natural populations, animal welfare and the spread of invasive species and emerging infectious diseases. Yet, evaluating the risks involved is difficult due to the lack of quantitative data on the trade. Here, we analyse data on the live reptile and amphibian trade in the USA and the worldwide trade in CITES-listed species over a ten year period. Our analyses show that the trade is dominated by only a few species, with ten species making up the majority of the trade. Moreover, our data show an increase of the contribution of captive bred specimens to the trade in the USA, but not worldwide. Our data do show the presence of several invasive species among those that are traded and bred most. The trade of potential invasive species is problematic and should be more strictly regulated as it may have a global impact on biodiversity and the spread of emerging infectious diseases.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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