0
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
1 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Searching for snakes: ball python hunting in southern Togo, West Africa

      , , , , , ,

      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

      Read this article at

      ScienceOpenPublisher
      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          The ball python (Python regius) is the single most exported live CITES-listed species from Africa, with a large proportion of snakes being sourced from Togo, West Africa, officially via a system reported nationally as “ranching”. This study represents the first in-depth review of ball python hunting being carried out by rural communities in Togo for nearly 15 years. Our approach, focused at the bottom of the trade chain, permitted extensive detailed data to be collected from hunters, and provides a unique insight into the practices, drivers and impacts associated with this type of large-scale commercial wildlife trade activity. We show that ball python hunting remains an economically valuable endeavour for these rural hunters. However, it also highlights a number of potential legal, conservation and animal welfare issues associated with the current hunting practices being carried out in Togo (and neighbouring range States) to supply the snake farms and ultimately the international exotic pet trade. Our findings suggest that the methods applied on the ground do not accurately reflect those being reported to national authorities and international regulatory mechanisms such as CITES. This irregular, if not illegal, trade may also be unsustainable, as suggested by hunters reporting that there are fewer ball pythons in the wild than there were five years previously. We recommend that additional scientific investigation (focusing on the size and status of the wild population), better management, and enforcement of regulations, are required to ensure that ball python populations are managed in a sustainable, legal and traceable way.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 18

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Are snake populations in widespread decline?

          Long-term studies have revealed population declines in fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. In birds, and particularly amphibians, these declines are a global phenomenon whose causes are often unclear. Among reptiles, snakes are top predators and therefore a decline in their numbers may have serious consequences for the functioning of many ecosystems. Our results show that, of 17 snake populations (eight species) from the UK, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia, 11 have declined sharply over the same relatively short period of time with five remaining stable and one showing signs of a marginal increase. Although the causes of these declines are currently unknown, we suspect that they are multi-faceted (such as habitat quality deterioration, prey availability), and with a common cause, e.g. global climate change, at their root.
            Bookmark
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: not found
            • Article: not found

            Payments for biodiversity conservation in the context of weak institutions: Comparison of three programs from Cambodia

              Bookmark
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: not found
              • Article: not found

              Rough Trade

              (2013)
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                March 13 2020
                March 13 2020
                : 38
                : 13-36
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.38.47864
                © 2020

                Comments

                Comment on this article