Brazil is estimated to account for 10 to 15% of illegal animal trade in the world. Efforts to avoid illegal trade are being made by federal agencies, but at this time there is a lack of information about the status of illegal trade of Brazilian amphibians (like in many countries). Brazil is the richest country in the world in number of amphibian species, housing more than 860 species. Many of them are endemic, some endangered, and there are even several species yet to be described. Therefore, the impact of illegal trade in Brazil must be investigated carefully in order to support future conservation action plans. In the present study, we compiled the available information on this subject, based on interviews with a representative number of Brazilian herpetologists and on research in airports, zoos, police departments, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Between 1998 and August 2009, we gathered reports on the trade of 746 amphibian individuals of 19 anuran and one salamander species in Brazil. Among them, 12 were native and eight were alien species. We also found other Brazilian species (but not endemic to Brazil) that were being sold in websites in Europe and the United States. We were not able to associate the internet selling with illegal trade, but this suggests that it may be possible that uncontrolled trade of Brazilian fauna is taking place. The amphibian illegal and international trade is much less representative than the present estimates for other tetrapods (reptiles, birds, and/or mammals); however, amphibians need urgent conservation action plans. Ideally, a Brazilian governmental agency should centralize all these incidents, as this would help us to understand the real impact of amphibian illegal trade and develop effective action plans to reduce this type of trade.
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Vol. 5 • No. 1