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      An open door for illegal trade: online sale of Strombocactus disciformis (Cactaceae)

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Online trade of CITES listed species has become a persistent threat which is difficult to measure and control. The use of online markets is growing day by the day as technology becomes more available and familiar to people of all ages and interests. Species trade can now be propagated remotely hardly without any real human interaction. We develop a quick-easy method to assess the online availability of the genus Strombocactus, a highly collectible cactus, to understand the real magnitude of this new form of threat and the possible menace it could be for these Mexican cacti. We used the Google.com site to do an online search in four languages (Spanish, English, French and German) for the offer of adult plants or seeds. We found specimens and seeds available in major online markets like ebay, amazon, cactusplaza.com and mercado libre. Plant price range from €10.00 to €30.00 plus shipping and handling. The plants were also offered in local online stores in countries like the USA, France, Germany, Australia, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and others; some sellers claim they have no obstacles for “shipping across countries” and others openly declare the natural localities where seeds were extracted. Only a minority of these online stores openly stated that the cacti were obtained from CITES registered nurseries or that the cacti were grown through propagules or seeds. Our method is easily transferable to estimate the illegal market for any species. There is an active online trade of Strombocactus species and other species listed in CITES without the necessary documentation. Compliance or other regulation mechanisms are needed in order to promote species conservation.

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          Wildlife trafficking in the Internet age

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            A star attraction: The illegal trade in Indian Star Tortoises

            We report on illegal international trade in Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans), with a particular focus on India and Thailand.Within India, this species has received protection as a Schedule IV list species of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 for over 40 years. This study documents the illegal trade of 55,000 individuals poached from just one ‘trade hub’ in India. Although domestic demand persists, these individuals appear to have been primarily sourced to satiate international demand for pets in other Asian countries (e.g. Thailand and China). Since 1975, this species has been included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that regulates all commercial trade. However, an analysis of the CITES trade records relating to Thailand imports (between 2004 and 2013) found large discrepancies indicating potential illegal activity which question the legitimacy of its founding captive stock. Given its role as a major hub of illegal trade activity, both as a consumer and a country of transit, we support calls for Thailand to prohibit private ownership by extending its domestic legislation to also cover non-indigenous tortoise species. In consideration of conservation and animal welfare concerns, we also call for more field research to determine the impacts of illegal trade on wild populations, an updated assessment of its conservation status, increased cooperation between national enforcement agencies, and the implementation of targeted human behaviour change initiatives to help reduce consumer demand for this species.
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              Global Diversity and Conservation Priorities in the Cactaceae

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                September 22 2016
                September 22 2016
                : 15
                :
                : 1-9
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.15.8259
                © 2016

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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