Janssen and Shepherd – 2019 – Trade in endangered and Critically Endangered Japanese herpetofauna

Abstract: Rare or newly discovered species are attractive targets for poaching as they often command a high value in the international market. Endemic species often have a very restricted range, making them extremely vulnerable to stochastic events and human activities, including poaching. Previous studies have shown that several species endemic to the Nansei Islands in Japan are available in the  international pet trade. This paper further investigates the presence of live reptiles and amphibians endemic to the Nansei Islands in
international pet trade. Seven Facebook groups and five classified websites were searched for these species, in addition to the CITES database and a spotcheck at Chatuchak market in Thailand. Nansei Island endemic reptiles and amphibians are more common in the international pet trade than initially thought. During the study period, advertisements for 23 species endemic to the Nansei Islands were found, comprising a total of 360 specimens. In addition, during a spot-check, 8 individuals of 2 subspecies of Japanese sword-tail newt
were found at Chatuchak market in Thailand. Only three of these species are protected by the CITES and nine are regionally or nationally protected. Yet, ten species observed in international markets are classified as Endangered by IUCN and two even as Critically Endangered. The large numbers observed for the Endangered and Critically Endangered Goniurosaurus and Takydromus species warrants increased protection and a CITES Appendix III listing is recommended for these species.
Key words: CITES; Goniurosaurus; Japan; Nansei Islands; Takydromus;
Wildlife trade


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  • April 29, 2019 Create Date
  • May 10, 2019 Last Updated

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