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Wildlife Trade (Illegal)

The Trade In Wildlife

The international commerce in wildlife has a value of about $20 billion per year. In recent years, this economic activity has involved about five million wild birds, 32 thousand primates, 12 million orchids, 11 million cacti, and huge numbers of other kinds of organisms. Most of this trade is legal, but a great deal is not, and involves an organized network of poaching, smuggling, and illicit sales.

Much of the wildlife trade involves the sale of living organisms for public zoological or botanical collections, or as private pets. This affects millions of wild-collected animals and plants each year, including endangered species. There is also an enormous trade in the parts of animals and plants. For example, the facial horns of rhinoceroses are extremely valuable in eastern Asia as an ingredient in traditional medicine, and in Yemen for manufacturing into dagger handles. Bile from the gall bladder of bears is also a precious material in traditional Asian medicine, as are the bones of tigers, and the roots of wild ginseng. Another example is elephant ivory, which is valued for use in artisanal crafts in many countries. Other valuable products of endangered species include rare furs, a fact that has threatened large cats such as the tiger, cheetah, leopard, and jaguar. Many species of plants and animals have become endangered because of excessive hunting and trade of their valuable body parts.


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Well-being to Jan Ɓukasiewicz BiographyWildlife Trade (Illegal) - The Trade In Wildlife, Monitoring And Regulating The International Trade In Endangered Species