Bolivian beetle gets UN protection
Doha, Qatar, 23rd March 2010—A large rhinoceros beetle found only in wet forests in Bolivia has been given protection by a UN body meeting today in Doha, Qatar.
Little is known about the biology of Dynastes satanas, but it appears to be declining in the wild through habitat loss and because large numbers are harvested for export to Europe, the USA and Asia where they are popular as pets, and in Japan at least, used for fighting competitions.
Individual beetles can fetch up to US$220 according to internet websites.
Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted today to list Dynastes satanas in Appendix II of the Convention.
The listing means that international trade in the species will be strictly regulated.
Local communities in Bolivia collect the beetles, despite national laws prohibiting their harvest from the wild. Some collectors report a decline in the number of beetles captured over the last 8 years, despite an increase in collecting effort.
“It is unclear whether there has been a significant impact on Dynastes satanas populations caused by trade, but it is clearly an issue that needs close monitoring, including the persistent market for beetles in Japan,” said James Compton, Head of TRAFFIC’s Asia Programme.