Exploitation versus overexploitation of wildlife: Challenges to overcome scientific uncertainties to warrant sustainable trade
The overexploitation of wildlife is considered as one of the major threats to biodiversity. While numerous species of flora and fauna are utilized domestically and internationally (questioning sustainability) without any legislative regulation, international trade in more than 35,000 species is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Despite the apparent regulation of many of these endangered species, trade has been legalized without knowledge on certain species-specific traits. In addition, several CITES species (where commercial trade is permitted) have been assessed as threatened in the IUCN Red List. The on-going international demand in lucrative CITES species and their products has also fuelled illegal trade activities. Overall, the level of scientific uncertainty appears blurry to understand the legalization of the international trade in wildlife.
On the basis of several species examples this presentation will highlight the complexity of this topic, and introduce current methodological approaches that can inform on sustainable off-takes.