Trends in illegal wildlife trade: Analyzing personal baggage seizure data in the Pacific Northwest.
Hitchens, R. T.; Blakeslee, A. M. H.
The illegal import of wildlife and wildlife products is a growing concern, and the U.S. is one of the world’s leading countries in the consumption and transit of illegal wildlife and their derivatives. Yet, few U.S. studies have analyzed the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) on a national or local scale. Moreover, to our knowledge, no studies have specifically examined the trends associated with IWT moving through personal baggage. This work aimed to better understand the magnitude of illegal wildlife importation into U.S. ports of entry by determining trends associated with illegal wildlife products from personal baggage seizures, using the Pacific Northwest (PNW) as a specific case study. To identify the most influential factors determining the numbers and types of personal baggage seizures into PNW, we analyzed 1,731 records between 1999 and 2016 from the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) database. We found five significant contributors: taxonomic classification of wildlife, categorical import date, wildlife product, source region, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) status. While wildlife seizures across taxonomic categories have generally decreased in the PNW since 2008, other findings provide a reason for concern. More specifically, mammals were identified as the largest animal group of seized wildlife, and temporal trends indicate increases in seizures for this and several other taxonomic groups. Many of the seizures originated from overseas, with East Asia serving as the largest source. Our PNW case study can be a model for how large-scale geographical seizure data can be used to inform about the major factors that have historically and presently contribute to IWT, with conservation implications globally.
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Hitchens, R. T., & Blakeslee, A. M. H.. (June 2020). Trends in illegal wildlife trade: Analyzing personal baggage seizure data in the Pacific Northwest.. PLoS ONE, (15:6), p.e0234197. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9434
Hitchens, R. T., and Blakeslee, A. M. H.. "Trends in illegal wildlife trade: Analyzing personal baggage seizure data in the Pacific Northwest.". PLoS ONE. 15:6. (e0234197.), June 2020. October 05, 2022. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9434.
Hitchens, R. T. and Blakeslee, A. M. H., "Trends in illegal wildlife trade: Analyzing personal baggage seizure data in the Pacific Northwest.," PLoS ONE 15, no. 6 (June 2020), http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9434 (accessed October 05, 2022).
Hitchens, R. T., Blakeslee, A. M. H.. Trends in illegal wildlife trade: Analyzing personal baggage seizure data in the Pacific Northwest.. PLoS ONE. June 2020; 15(6) e0234197. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9434. Accessed October 05, 2022.