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Article

Opportunistic or Non-Random Wildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in the Wild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching

1
Department of Physical, Chemical and Natural Processes, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
2
Department of Conservation Biology, Doñana Biological Station CSIC, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
3
Unidad Mixta de Investigacion en Biodiversidad, Universidad de Oviedo, CSIC, 33600 Mieres, Spain
4
Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, 28006 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(8), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080314
Received: 21 July 2020 / Revised: 12 August 2020 / Accepted: 13 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
Illegal wildlife trade, which mostly focuses on high-demand species, constitutes a major threat to biodiversity. However, whether poaching is an opportunistic crime within high-demand taxa such as parrots (i.e., harvesting proportional to species availability in the wild), or is selectively focused on particular, more desirable species, is still under debate. Answering this question has important conservation implications because selective poaching can lead to the extinction of some species through overharvesting. However, the challenges of estimating species abundances in the wild have hampered studies on this subject. We conducted a large-scale survey in Colombia to simultaneously estimate the relative abundance of wild parrots through roadside surveys (recording 10,811 individuals from 25 species across 2221 km surveyed) and as household, illegally trapped pets in 282 sampled villages (1179 individuals from 21 species). We used for the first time a selectivity index to test selection on poaching. Results demonstrated that poaching is not opportunistic, but positively selects species based on their attractiveness, defined as a function of species size, coloration, and ability to talk, which is also reflected in their local prices. Our methodological approach, which shows how selection increases the conservation impacts of poaching for parrots, can be applied to other taxa also impacted by harvesting for trade or other purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: CRAVED; conservation criminology; defaunation; harvesting; wildlife trade; parrot abundance; pets; poaching; Savage selectivity index CRAVED; conservation criminology; defaunation; harvesting; wildlife trade; parrot abundance; pets; poaching; Savage selectivity index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Romero-Vidal, P.; Hiraldo, F.; Rosseto, F.; Blanco, G.; Carrete, M.; Tella, J.L. Opportunistic or Non-Random Wildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in the Wild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching. Diversity 2020, 12, 314. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080314

AMA Style

Romero-Vidal P, Hiraldo F, Rosseto F, Blanco G, Carrete M, Tella JL. Opportunistic or Non-Random Wildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in the Wild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching. Diversity. 2020; 12(8):314. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080314

Chicago/Turabian Style

Romero-Vidal, Pedro, Fernando Hiraldo, Federica Rosseto, Guillermo Blanco, Martina Carrete, and José L. Tella 2020. "Opportunistic or Non-Random Wildlife Crime? Attractiveness Rather Than Abundance in the Wild Leads to Selective Parrot Poaching" Diversity 12, no. 8: 314. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080314

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