Star Tortoise Trade, Ivory Surveys and Much More

Confiscated Indian Star Tortoises in government-run wildlife facility outside of Bangkok, Thailand

Confiscated Indian Star Tortoises in government-run wildlife facility outside of Bangkok, Thailand

From traffic.org

Cambridge, UK, 30th October 2015—The October issue of the TRAFFIC Bulletin, our flagship journal has been published and features a number of papers highlighting the emerging online trade in wildlife. 

One paper demonstrates that although the availability of Indian Star Tortoises in pet and aquarium shops in Malaysia has dropped drastically over the past decade, likely owing to greater enforcement efforts and increased public awareness of the illegality of such trade, the threat of illegal trade persists as the trade shifts online. 

The issue covers a broad range of issues, everything from a successful project undertaken in China to establish and promote sustainable management of medicinal plants that also contribute to rural livelihoods through to a recent ivory survey in 21 cities in Viet Nam: some 2,300 ivory items were recorded openly for sale, a significant decline compared to previous surveys, the causes of which are discussed. However, much of the ivory trade appears to have shifted online. 

After having not been observed for decades, in 2012 the Earless Monitor Lizard, endemic to the island of Borneo, was rediscovered and international trade in the species soon commenced. At present, the internet is facilitating this trade, either directly by enabling open sale and trade exchange, or indirectly through discussions around the species. An article in the latest Bulletin provides an overview of the illegal international trade and considers that inclusion of this species in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) may help to curb the trade and aid in conservation of the species.

This issue also features a case study of the Ploughshare Tortoise, probably the most endangered tortoise in the world, threatened by habitat destruction in its native Madagascar and by illegal trade. The authors examine the critical role that zoos can play in the conservation of this species. 

To read more about these and many other wildlife trade-related issues, download the latest issue of the TRAFFIC Bulletin (PDF, 2 MB).

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Max Maurer

Turtle Conservancy, 49 Bleecker Street, Suite 601, New York, NY, 10012, United States