What We’re Reading- Jan 6, 2017

Pangolin Trade Network
All species of pangolins are endangered throughout their range, due in large part to poaching for their meat and scales.  Using media reports, a team of researchers identified approximately 65,800 individuals were harvested and seized between 2008-2016 although the level of harvest not detected remains unknown.  Notably, only 117 individuals were reported poached in the CITES database which monitors legal and illegal trade of wildlife.  This research paper (open) is unique in the use of network analysis to understand where the hubs of trade occur, which is along the China-Vietnam border for pangolins.  Thus, enforcement officials can use this data to target cities for educational or enforcement campaigns.

Military Dolphins to Vaquita’s Rescue
The United States Navy will deploy trained dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) to locate vaquitas (Phocoena sinus) in the Gulf of California.  Once located the small porpoises will be relocated to a facility for captive breeding.  Vaquitas are endangered due to death in gill neats deployed to catch the totoaba fish (Totoaba macdonaldi), which is itself endangered due to overharvest.  We hope this project is a conservation success with the ultimate reintroduction of vaquitas to the wild; however, risks include lack of knowledge of vaquita husbandry in captivity and slow reproductive rate.

Vaquita Photo Credit- Thomas A. Jefferson via ARKive

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