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Oversimplification of the interpretation of wildlife trade data jeopardizes the ability of policy makers to prioritize aiming limited resources towards those species that truly require protection from unsustainable trade and wildlife trafficking, which threaten species with extinction.
In a recent study published in Science, the authors expressed a series of conclusions that are based on a gross misinterpretation of wildlife trade data.
Wildlife conservation policy decisions should rely on the best available analyses of threats in order to respond most efficiently. The interpretation of data presented in this study show numerous flaws that may interfere with perceptions about where unsustainable and illegal trade is actually occurring and where limited resources should be directed to prevent wildlife extinction.
This commentary is in response to Scheffers et al. (2019). Global wildlife trade across the tree of life, published in Science this month. A response to this commentary from the Science authors was published on November 8, 2019.