CITES Trade Database surpasses 25 million trade transaction records

Phalaenopsis pink orchid

More than 25 million records of wildlife trade transactions have now been reported by the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the CITES Trade Database. As the most comprehensive and authoritative database on international trade in wildlife, this tool enables CITES Parties and the general public to access transactions of international trade in species of wild fauna and flora.

This milestone coincides with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention text by representatives of 80 countries in 1973 and underscores the progress made in the past half century on trade reporting and data digitalisation. Managed by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), the CITES Trade Database comprises records dating back to 1975 when the Convention entered into force, contributed by the now 184 Parties to the Convention (183 countries and the European Union).

Today, more than 1.5 million records of trade in CITES-listed wildlife species are reported annually, with each record providing details about one permitted shipment transaction (import, export or re-export) of live or dead CITES-listed animals and plants and their parts and derivatives.

The CITES Trade Database allows for greater transparency and accessibility to trade data, helping us to discern emerging trends, monitor the sustainability of trade levels at the national, regional and global scale and identify potential adverse effects on species survival. This dataset is a vital asset to our Parties and an integral part of the implementation of the Convention that reflects the scientific and data-driven nature of our work.

Ivonne Higuero, CITES Secretary-General

Passing 25 million records in the CITES Trade Database signifies an important milestone in the work of Parties to the Convention. It also reflects the strong partnership for conservation and sustainable use between UNEP-WCMC and the CITES Secretariat, Parties and Standing Committee, which has resulted in not only a strengthened CITES Trade Database, but also other key wildlife trade information management tools including Species+, CITES Wildlife TradeView and the Checklist of CITES Species.

Neville Ash, Director of UNEP-WCMC
The transaction that pushed the CITES Trade Database past 25 million recorded wildlife transactions involved trade in skins from reticulated pythons (Malayopython reticulatus)

With nearly 41,000 species listed under the CITES Appendices, National CITES Management Authorities are responsible for issuing permits and compiling annual reports on their international trade in CITES-listed species which is reflected in the CITES Trade Database. UNEP-WCMC regularly consults with CITES Parties to query potential reporting errors or missing data to help ensure that CITES trade is accurately reflected in the database. This collaboration on trade data, and on wider CITES implementation, such as the production of species-focused assessments and analyses, aims to ensure that those working to manage and regulate trade in wildlife can access accurate information for their decision-making.

As the official source of data on international trade in CITES-listed species, the CITES Trade Database is accessible to the public online in an aggregated format at The database can be used for retrieving specified datasets according to selected variables (year range, exporter/importer, source, taxon, etc) and parameters for selected output and report types, including comparative tabulation or gross/net trade reports. The full database (ie, at the shipment-by-shipment level) is available as a static download that is updated annually. For more information, please refer to the Guide to using the CITES Trade Database.

Last year, UNEP-WCMC, working with the CITES Secretariat, launched CITES Wildlife TradeView, an online platform that allows users to easily access and visualise the global wildlife trade data recorded in the CITES Trade Database. This tool increases the accessibility and transparency of CITES trade data to support a broader understanding of the international trade in CITES-listed wildlife at different scales, even to non-experts.

Main image: Adobe Stock

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