Policy ForumConservation

Improve customs systems to monitor global wildlife trade

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Science  17 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6232, pp. 291-292
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa3141

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The volume of international trade in wildlife commodities is immense and, in many cases, is rising (1). Although there are already wildlife trade data sources [e.g., the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Trade Database and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS)], coverage of traded species or countries involved is not comprehensive. This can undermine supply-chain monitoring and fast aggregation of data to inform policy-making (2). We discuss whether widely used, but limited, international customs codes and governance might evolve to address these gaps.