Search TRAFFIC

NOTE: Please see instructions here to search inside TRAFFIC's PDFs

Subscribe to news

STAY UP TO DATE

news, studies, issues and events from the world of wildlife trade.



Instagram
Also of interest

Wildlife crime is serious - watch the video!

...............................................................

Interested in a Masters in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge? More details...

...............................................................

TRAFFIC is grateful for the financial contribution from The Rufford Foundation towards this website

Useful links
Focus on

Behaviour change l Conservation awareness l Enforcement

...............................................................

Iconic wildlife

Apes l Bears l Deer l Elephants l Leopards l Marine turtles l Pangolins l Reptiles l Rhinos l Sharks & rays l Tigers l others

...............................................................

Forestry

Timber trade

...............................................................

Fisheries

Fisheries regulation

...............................................................

Medicinal plants

Medicinal and aromatic plants

...............................................................

Wildmeat

Wildmeat resources

...............................................................

Pets & fashion

Wild animals used for pets & fashion

...............................................................

Regions

Africa l Americas l Asia l Australasia l Europe l Middle East

...............................................................

International Agreements

CBD l CITES l CMS

...............................................................

Thursday
Nov272014

New report examines potential threat to walruses from hunting and trade

Cambridge, UK, 27th November 2014—A new report from TRAFFIC and WWF examines the international trade in walrus parts and derivatives in view of the looming additional threat posed to this Arctic species from climate change and the break up of sea ice.

Although commercial hunting of Walrus populations has not occurred since the mid 20th Century, hunting for subsistence purposes is still permitted in Canada, the United States, Greenland and Russia, with a small walrus sport hunt allowed in Canada. Norway is the only range State that prohibits the hunting of walrus.

Hunting helps to maintain the cultural identity of Arctic peoples and contributes to a traditional subsistence economy in the region, both as a source of food and in generating income.

According to the report, Hauling out: International trade and management of Walrus (PDF, 3.2 MB), on average up to 5,406 walruses (555 Atlantic Walruses Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus and 4,851 Pacific Walruses O. r. divergens) were hunted per year from 2006/2007 to 2010/2011. This equates to less than 3% and 4% respectively of the estimated global populations for each subspecies.

International trade in walrus parts and derivatives is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Based on CITES trade data on walrus skulls and tusks, between 461 and 772 walruses were represented in international trade during 2005 to 2009, an average of 92-154 per year. The majority of the skulls and tusks were from Atlantic Walrus.

However, “Limitations in available trade data make it very difficult to make inferences on the impact of international trade, whether current provisions and regulations are adequate and whether further action is needed,” says the report.

Overall, the report finds a lack of long-term data and poor quality of information on population estimates for walruses making it difficult to determine the true impact of international trade or what the current or future impact on walrus populations will be from climate change. Currently neither illegal hunting nor illegal trade appear to be at levels that would cause conservation concern.

The report therefore recommends a number of steps to improve monitoring of international trade in walrus parts and steps to obtain better data on the population size, trend and demographics of both Atlantic and Pacific Walrus populations to ensure harvest levels are sustainable.

“Co-operation, collaboration and commitment are needed by all to help fill the gaps in our current knowledge,” says the report, noting that “Successful management will result in populations and stocks that remain healthy, stable, resilient to threats and a resource to local communities.”

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Coimbatore wildlife law enforcement training breaks new ground | Main | New recruits to Guangxi Forest Police receive training to counter wildlife trafficking »