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The global trade in wildlife threatens more than just rhinos, elephants and tigers: amphibians and reptiles are also at risk

The illegal trade in wildlife rivals the weapons and drugs trades in terms of global profits. While most people are aware that the trade threatens elephants, rhinos and tigers, the trade in smaller wildlife, such as amphibians and reptiles, goes largely unnoticed. We are interested in uncovering more information on the poorly known nature and scale of the trade in amphibians and reptiles as pets, traditional medicine and food, and the threat that it poses to wild populations of these animals.

Our focus is on Southeast Asia, a global hub for the illegal wildlife trade in amphibians and reptiles and products derived from them. In addition to local demand, there is also high demand for rare and exotic tree frogs, newts, snakes, lizards and tortoises to supply the international market, particularly as pets. As many amphibians and reptiles from this region are already threatened with extinction, it is vital we expand on our understanding of the volume and nature of the trade so that we can help minimise this threat to the region's unique amphibians and reptiles.