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Most imported endangered animals to America

  • Most imported endangered animals to America

    Humans are driving many ecological changes happening globally, including the possible extinction of several species. Because of the human species' ability to change its environment, humanity has either directly or inadvertently changed almost every species of animal, plant, bacteria, fungus, and virus on the planet.

    In some ways, this is a positive. Humans have been able to save some species from extinction, alter species to be more successful in a rapidly changing environment, and created new species to help lift pressures off of native species. More likely, however, human interactions have had a negative impact.

    Humans are responsible for the extinction of the Arabian ostrich, the auroch, the Atlas bear, the broad-billed parrot, the bush wren, the California grizzly bear, the Cape lion, the Caucasian wisent, the Chatham bellbird, the Cuban macaw, the dodo, the Saudi gazelle, the Japanese sea lion and river otter, the laughing owl, and many others. These extinctions were sometimes the result of overhunting, human-created pollution, or human developments endangering or blocking mating grounds. Sometimes, the extinctions were intentional.

    As issues like climate change and mass deforestation continue to reshape animal habitats, we must accept that the largest single factor in global change—for good or bad—is us.

    To examine animal importation to the U.S., Stacker consulted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Trade Database and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Stacker found the top 50 endangered species which have had the most specimens imported to the U.S. between 2008 and 2018, according to importer-reported quantity. The species on this list are those considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the IUCN Red List.

    While the CITES database and the Red List are comprehensive, they are neither exhaustive nor inclusive and do not account for illegal smuggling. The data presented is accurate as of 2018.

    Recognizing the human impact on the natural world is only the first part. To preserve the world's species for future generations, radical reconsiderations for deforestation, residential and commercial development, industrial processes, and hunting must happen.

    Keep reading to learn why the world's coral may be on the verge of disappearing.

    You may also like: 50 of the world’s most endangered species

  • #50. Acropora horrida

    - Scientific name: Acropora horrida
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 12,053 (73 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, raw corals, specimens
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, scientific
    - Top exporting countries: Indonesia, Australia, Fiji

    Acropora horrida is a species of stony corals found in shallow tropical reefs. Uncommon and suited to shallow pools with high turbidity or cloudiness, the coral ranks high on "must-have" lists among coral collectors.

  • #49. Persian sturgeon

    - Scientific name: Acipenser persicus
    - Red List status: Critically endangered
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 12,744 (31 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: caviar, eggs, derivatives
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, personal
    - Top exporting countries: Italy, France, Iran

    The Caspian Sea-native Persian sturgeon is hunted for its roe and fished for its flesh, which is considered a delicacy. River damming, water pollution, and indiscriminate harvesting have led to the species' critically endangered status. Recognizing behaviors leading to the species' endangerment can help improve the Persian sturgeon's chances. However, the most pragmatic approach may be sturgeon hatcheries.

  • #48. Indian python

    - Scientific name: Python molurus
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 12,975 (222 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: leather products (small), leather products (large), skin pieces
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, personal, circus or traveling exhibition
    - Top exporting countries: Italy, China, Japan

    The python molurus or Indan python is a slow-moving, water-loving snake native to the Indian subcontinent. Capable of reaching nearly 10 feet in length, the python is commonly confused for the Burmese python. The snake is endangered because of being killed out of fear, being trapped as pets, deforestation, and leather harvesting. Pythons are protected by international treaties banning the trade of live pythons or python products.

  • #47. Acropora microclados

    - Scientific name: Acropora microclados
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 14,282 (65 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, raw corals
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, personal, zoo
    - Top exporting countries: Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Australia

    Acropora microclados—sometimes called Strawberry Shortcake Coral in the coral collector community—is an uncommon, tropical shallow reef coral. A highly iconic species because of its short multicolored branches against a teal-blue base making it highly photogenic, the coral is currently endangered because of tourism, shipping, and fishing. Water temperature changes, human harvesting, and increased pollution have also contributed to endangerment. Habitat restoration is the preferred method of conservation.

  • #46. Disc coral (T. reniformis)

    - Scientific name: Turbinaria reniformis
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 15,797 (78 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, raw corals, carvings
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, scientific, personal
    - Top exporting countries: Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Tonga

    Disc coral is a class of mushroom coral that typically grows in the Indian Ocean and the southwestern Pacific Ocean. A solitary coral that likes to build on rocks as juveniles, this coral is popular with reef aquarium owners for its distinct shape and bright colors. As coral reefs are increasingly endangered because of storm damage, decreased dissolved oxygen levels from agricultural runoff, coastal development, and climate change, the coral that calls them home are increasingly at risk of disappearing forever.

  • #45. Common tortoise

    - Scientific name: Testudo graeca
    - Red List status: Endangered
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 16,229 (90 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, carvings
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, personal
    - Top exporting countries: Jordan, Germany, Switzerland

    The Greek tortoise, also known as the spur-thighed or common tortoise is one of the longest-lived animals currently in existence. Common in the Black Sea area and North Africa, the tortoise is known for its large scales, spurs on its thighs, and rectangular shell. Typically weighing less than 10 pounds, these tortoises are pet-size, making them common for live trade.

  • #44. White-lipped peccary

    - Scientific name: Tayassu pecari
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 16,382 (87 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: leather products (small), trophies, garments
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, personal, hunting trophy
    - Top exporting countries: Italy, Spain, Mexico

    The white-lipped peccary is a peccary common to rainforest areas in Central and South America. A peccary is a pig-like hoofed New World animal that has been called the skunk pig traditionally cultivated as a food source. A peccary is unrelated to domestic pigs, as domestic pigs are Eurasian-African in origin. Similarly to domestic pigs, peccary skins can be made into a high-level of leather. The white-lipped peccary is most endangered, however, from the shrinking rainforest, which is vanishing because of deforestation and livestock ranching.

  • #43. Galaxea astreata

    - Scientific name: Galaxea astreata
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 16,614 (56 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, raw corals
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, scientific
    - Top exporting countries: Indonesia, Fiji, Australia

    Another class of stony coral, galaxea astreata, can vary in size, shape, and color. What distinguishes this species is the corallite that is about four millimeters in diameter. The coral is considered common and is endangered due to threats to the coral reefs.

  • #42. Paddlefish

    - Scientific name: Polyodon spathula
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 16,682 (8 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: caviar, eggs, specimens
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, medical, scientific
    - Top exporting countries: United Kingdom, Japan, Germany

    Unchanged since it was discovered in the Late Cretaceous fossil record, paddlefish is arguably one of the oldest species still alive at 70 to 75 million years old. The paddlefish is a ray-finned fish that is present in the Mississippi River and Yangtze River. Heavily over-fished and subject to river damming, the Chinese species of the fish may now be extinct, as it has not been seen since 2007. While wild paddlefish are exclusively Chinese and American, farm-raised American paddlefish are being raised throughout the European Union and the former USSR.

  • #41. Ice fire

    - Scientific name: Acropora echinata
    - Red List status: Vulnerable
    - Total specimens imported to the U.S., 2008-2018: 16,983 (73 total shipments)
    - Top types of animals/animal products imported: live, raw corals
    - Top purposes for importing to the U.S.: commercial, educational, personal
    - Top exporting countries: Indonesia, Australia, Fiji

    The bottlebrush-like coral acropora echinata has gained the unusual name ice fire for its bluish tone with pink, purple, or white branchlets. A shallow-water, tropical reef coral, ice fire is uncommon and grows in captivity to about six inches in diameter.

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