Global wildlife trade higher than previously estimated
October 3, 2019 - At least one in five vertebrate species on Earth is bought and sold on the wildlife market, according to a new study, the trade for which is 40-60% higher than previously estimated.
The trade of wildlife for luxury foods and medicinal parts and as pets is now so substantial that it represents one of the most prominent drivers of vertebrate extinction risk globally.
Of the 31,745 terrestrial bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile species, 5,579 animals, or roughly 18%, are traded globally.
The authors of the study, published in the journal Science, have also predicted that continued trading will affect up to 3,196 additional species, totalling 8,775 species at risk of extinction from trade.
The study also shows that traded animals are in higher categories of a threat compared with the non-traded species, confirming wildlife trade as a driver of extinction.
Globally, between $8 billion and $21 billion is reaped annually from illegal trade, making it one of the world’s largest illegitimate businesses.
The authors stress the need for proactive strategies designed to combat global wildlife trade.