Recently, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released five action plans “to promote legal, sustainable and traceable trade in selected North American species” (West & Cooper vii) listed in CITES. 55 taxa were identified and organized into five groups: parrots, sharks, timber species, turtles and tortoises, and tarantulas. These plans were created under the guidance of the CITES Authorities of Mexico, Canada, and the United states, the three countries involved in the legal trade of these species.
Megan Ainscow from the CEC was gracious enough to pass the report on tarantulas to me so I could share it with my readers. For those interested in reading the report (and it’s actually very easy reading and quite interesting) just click the picture above or the link below.
To encapsulate, the CEC brought together the main stakeholders in the Brachypelma tarantula trade—Canada, Mexico, and the US—for a workshop in October 25-26 in Mexico City, and the reports were generated from consultation with these stake holders.
The tarantula plan identifies 16 species of tarantulas, 15 from genus Brachypelma and one from genus Aphonopelma as “priority tarantula species.” They looked at the impact of trade on conservation and livelihoods as well as the challenges to CITES implementation. The results are a list of 18 actions to be implemented to promote the conservation of these species (These steps are clearly explained in the report).
Breeders and hobbyists report that illegal trade is worse than legal trade, with most of these “brown boxed” spiders going to Asia and the EU. (ix)
The majority of tarantula in the legal trade consist of slings/juveniles. (5)
The populations of Brachypelma species in Mexico are on the decline due to habitat loss and collection for illegal export and sale at local markets. (5)
Mexico has the 2nd largest tarantula diversity (next to Brazil). (2)
Two Mexican Brachypelma breeders have volunteered to release 30% of their captive-produced B. klaasi and B. smithi slings back into their maternal habitats. (5)
Demand is increasing within Mexico and internationally for live Brachypelma. (7)
Two licenced Brachypelma dealers in Mexico produce 11,000-14,000 juveniles a year exclusively for legal sale in the US and Canada. (7)
There is currently not enough population information available for Mexican tarantulas to determine how the export of adult specimens may affect species survival in the wild. (8)
Priority Tarantula Species
The list below covers the 16 species addressed in this report.
- Aphonopelma pallidum
- Brachypelma albiceps
- Brachypelma annitha
- Brachypelma auratum
- Brachypelma aureoceps
- Brachypelma baumgarteni
- Brachypelma boehmei
- Brachypelma emilia
- Brachypelma epicureanum
- Brachypelma hamorii
- Brachypelma kahlenbergi
- Brachypelma klaasi
- Brachypelma schroederi
- Brachypelma smithi
- Brachypelma vagans
- Brachypelma verdezi
At about 50 pages long, the document is a fast read full of some very interesting information, including insights about the Brachypelma trade and brief descriptions and distribution notes on the 16 species. Personally, I’ll be eagerly waiting for updates on how this initiative progresses.
CEC 2017, Sustainable Trade in Tarantulas: Action Plan for North America. Montreal, Canada: Commission for Environmental Cooperation. 52 pp.