Summarizing US Wildlife Trade with an Eye Toward Assessing the Risk of Infectious Disease Introduction

K. M. Smith, C. Zambrana-Torrelio, A. White, M. Asmussen, C. Machalaba, S. Kennedy, K. Lopez, T. M. Wolf, P. Daszak, D. A. Travis, W. B. Karesh

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19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of this study was to characterize the role of the USA in the global exchange of wildlife and describe high volume trade with an eye toward prioritizing health risk assessment questions for further analysis. Here we summarize nearly 14 years (2000–2013) of the most comprehensive data available (USFWS LEMIS system), involving 11 billion individual specimens and an additional 977 million kilograms of wildlife. The majority of shipments contained mammals (27%), while the majority of specimens imported were shells (57%) and tropical fish (25%). Most imports were facilitated by the aquatic and pet industry, resulting in one-third of all shipments containing live animals. The importer reported origin of wildlife was 77.7% wild-caught and 17.7% captive-reared. Indonesia was the leading exporter of legal shipments, while Mexico was the leading source reported for illegal shipments. At the specimen level, China was the leading exporter of legal and illegal wildlife imports. The number of annual declared shipments doubled during the period examined, illustrating continually increasing demand, which reinforces the need to scale up capacity for border inspections, risk management protocols and disease surveillance. Most regulatory oversight of wildlife trade is aimed at conservation, rather than prevention of disease introduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalEcoHealth
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Keywords

  • disease
  • illegal trade
  • legal trade
  • species
  • wildlife trade

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    Smith, K. M., Zambrana-Torrelio, C., White, A., Asmussen, M., Machalaba, C., Kennedy, S., Lopez, K., Wolf, T. M., Daszak, P., Travis, D. A., & Karesh, W. B. (2017). Summarizing US Wildlife Trade with an Eye Toward Assessing the Risk of Infectious Disease Introduction. EcoHealth, 14(1), 29-39. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-017-1211-7