Journal Article

Insights into the primate trade into the European Union and the United Kingdom


Illegal and/or unsustainable trade is a major obstacle to effective primate conservation. The wildlife trade in the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) is significant, but for many species, such as primates, the trade is poorly understood and sparsely reported. All EU countries are Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); all primates are listed on Appendix I or II of CITES and are included on Annex A or B of Regulation (EC) No 338/97. We here combine data from several databases (CITES, UN Comtrade, TRAFFIC WiTIS) and seizure reports, to provide a narrative of the trade in primates into and within Europe. The legal import of live primates (2002–2021) amounted to 218,000–238,000 individuals (valued at US$ 869 million), with France, the UK, and Spain as the main importers and Mauritius, Vietnam, and China as the main exporters. Over 21,000 primate parts (trophies, skulls, bodies) were imported mainly from African countries, and UN Comtrade data suggests that ~ 600 tonnes of primate meat was imported mainly from Asia. The vast majority of live primates are either captive-born or captive-bred, and this proportion has increased over time. Reports of the illegal primate trade are far from complete, but the illegal trade of specific species or primate meat can have negative impacts of wild populations of already imperiled species. Stronger policies and more effective enforcement in consumer countries, such as the EU, would also aid in, and garner support for, better protecting primates in primate range states.

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Svensson, Magdalena S.
Nijman, Vincent
Shepherd,Chris R.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-04-26

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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