Navigation Links
Wildlife trade threatens public health and ecosystems
Date:5/1/2009

Wildlife imports into the United States are fragmented and insufficiently coordinated, failing to accurately list more than four in five species entering the country.

So reports a team of scientists from the Wildlife Trust, Brown University, Pacific Lutheran University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Global Invasive Species Programme.

A paper on their findings is published in this week's issue of the journal Science.

The poorly regulated U.S. wildlife trade can lead to devastating effects on ecosystems, native species, food supply chains and human health.

"As our world, in many senses, grows smaller and smaller with the ease of international travel, the network of connections has increased, facilitating the spread of diseases," said Rita Teutonico, senior advisor for integrative activities in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE).

SBE co-funded this research through the agency's Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) priority area. HSD was supported by all NSF Directorates, and by NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering and Office of Polar Programs.

"These scientists report a pattern of trade in wildlife that includes a very large number of animals, coupled with a poor understanding of what species are traded," said James Collins, NSF Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. "The findings highlight the need for further research because of the unknown effects these animals and their pathogens can have on native organisms."

A global trade in wildlife generates hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The researchers report that during a six-year period from 2000 through 2006, the U.S. imported more than 1.5 billion live animals.

"That's more than 200 million animals a year--unexpectedly high," said scientist Peter Daszak, president of the Wildlife Trust, who co-led the research.

The animals collected were from wild populations in more than 190 countries around the world, and were intended for commercial sale in the U.S.--primarily in the pet trade.

"This incredible number of imports is equivalent to every single person in the U.S. owning at least five pets," said biologist Katherine Smith of Brown University, co-leader of the study.

More than 86 percent of shipments contained animals that were not classified to the level of species, making it impossible to assess the full diversity of animals imported, or calculate the risk of non-native species introductions or disease transmission.

"Shipments are coming in labeled 'live vertebrate' or 'fish,'" said Daszak. "If we don't know what animals are in there, how do we know which are going to become invasive species or carry diseases that could affect livestock, wildlife--or ourselves?"

The wildlife trade has previously led to disease introductions such as the 2003 monkeypox outbreak following the import of infected African rodents for the pet trade.

"The threat to public health is real, as the majority of emerging diseases come from wildlife," said Smith. "Most of these imported animals originate in Southeast Asia--a hotspot for emerging diseases."

The research team calls for direct measures to decrease the risk of such "pathogen pollution" and proposes guidelines to protect human, animal, and ecosystem health.

Recommendations:

  • Stricter record keeping should be required to inform risk analysis on animal imports.
  • Third-party surveillance and testing should be established for both known and unknown pathogens at the exportation points in foreign countries.
  • Greater public education is needed to educate individuals, importers, veterinarians and pet industry advocates about the dangers of diseases that emerge from wildlife and that can make their way to domesticated animals and humans.

"We need to look at all the factors that impact ecosystems--the whole picture," said Daszak. "The global wildlife trade is promoting a process that will impact our health and the health of the planet."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Wildlife biologist named Roger Tory Peterson Medal recipient, speaker
2. Wildlife Conservation Society helps Cameroon create new national park
3. Village bird study highlights loss of wildlife knowledge from one
4. Golf course: Playing fields, wildlife sanctuaries or both
5. Study on wildlife corridors shows how they work over time
6. Study: Wildlife need more complex travel plans
7. For the birds or for me? Why do conservationists really help wildlife?
8. Wildlife Conservation Society discovers Planet of the Apes
9. Lincoln Park Zoo launches first-of-its-kind wildlife reintroduction database
10. Wildlife Conservation Society releases definitive state of the wild
11. Model connects circuit theory to wildlife corridors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Wildlife trade threatens public health and ecosystems
(Date:6/7/2016)... June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San ... relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature ... This collaboration will result in greater convenience for ... union, while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & Detection ... Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security ... revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: ... leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced video ...
(Date:5/16/2016)...   EyeLock LLC , a market leader of ... an IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, ... of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris ... security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most ... EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a fast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... WA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announces the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention ... recruitment and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: