Selection process for species showing noteworthy trends

The process of selection of species showing noteworthy trends is described in the ‘Methods’ section below. In this year’s Analysis, two key changes to the selection methodology have been introduced to reflect proposed revisions to the methodology for selecting species under the “extended analyses” of the CITES Review of Significant Trade process, by the CITES Advisory Working Group on the Evaluation of the Review of Significant Trade. These changes are as follows:

1. Species that are categorised as ‘Data Deficient’ in the IUCN Red List are treated as ‘globally threatened’ for the purposes of determining the ‘high volume’ thresholds, to take a precautionary approach; and

2. The selection criteria ‘overall increase’, ‘overall decrease’ and ‘high variability’ have been removed, since they were considered to be much less effective in identifying species that may warrant closer scrutiny than the ‘high volume’ and ‘sharp increase’ criteria, which have been retained. Indeed, none of the species that were recommended for review by the SRG on the basis of the previous five Analyses (2008 – 2012) were originally selected under any of the criteria ‘overall increase’, ‘overall decrease’ or ‘high variability’ alone.


In the process of selection of species for discussion in this section, only EU- and candidate country-reported direct imports from wild, ranched and ‘unknown’ sources, as well as trade reported without a source specified, were considered. Terms that cannot easily be related to numbers of individuals (e.g. feathers, hair, specimens) were not included within the selection process, with the exception of certain terms[1] that were considered to be traded in sufficiently high quantities to merit further scrutiny.

In addition to the conversion factors applied to all trade data, the following conversion factors were applied to the data used in the selection process so that certain terms could be more easily equated to numbers of individuals (Table below).

Conversion factors applied to data used to select highly traded species.

Converted from: Converted to:
[l]Elephant tusks [l]Trophies [1.88 tusks = one elephant trophy (Parker and Martin, 1982*)]
[l]Hippopotamus teeth [l]Trophies [12 teeth = one hippopotamus trophy]

* Parker, I.S.C. and Martin, E.B. (1982). How many elephants are killed for the ivory trade? Oryx 16 (3): 235-239.

[1] Bark, caviar, extract, meat, musk, powder, raw corals, roots, timber and wax.


The criteria for selection of species showing noteworthy patterns of trade are described below. Species were selected for discussion if they met at least one of the criteria.

High VolumeSharp Increase

High volume

Species qualified for selection on the basis of ‘high volume’ trade if imports during 2013 exceeded pre-determined thresholds based on taxa-wide assumptions of general reproductive biology.

High volume (Globally threatened)

The ‘high volume’ trade thresholds were adjusted for all species categorised as Critically Endangered (‘CR’), Endangered (‘EN’), Vulnerable (‘VU’) or Near Threatened (‘NT’) in the 2015 IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Sharp increase

Species qualified for selection on the basis of a sharp increase in trade if the volume of importer-reported imports during 2013 was more than three times the average trade volume of the preceding five-year period (2008-2012). Species that, despite a sharp increase in trade, were still only traded in very low volumes in 2013 (less than 5% of the high volume thresholds, not taking into account threat status), were not selected on the basis of this criterion. Newly-listed species, or species newly named following a nomenclature change, that met this criterion artificially due to the absence of trade records in previous years were also excluded.