(DOHA)—In an unusual vote for
conservation, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species (CITES) unanimously approved the listing of a rare and bizarre
insect, the satanic beetle (Dynastes
satanas) on its Appendix II.
Prized by collectors, the satanic
beetle has been a target for trappers in its tiny natural range in
central Bolivia. Bolivia, which introduced the proposal, hopes that the
listing will benefit local people as well as helping to preserve the
Dr. Ronald Orenstein, a long-time
veteran of CITES proceedings, welcomed the decision on behalf of Humane
Society International, a member of the Species Survival Network.
“Beetles are the largest group of animals on earth, but this is the
first time that CITES Parties have voted a beetle onto the Appendices.
Many beetles, like this one, fetch high prices on the international
market, and it is time that CITES took a closer look at this trade.”
Notes of the
Very limited; endemic to rainforests from 900 to 2000 m elevation in
the Regions of La Paz and Cochabamba, Bolivia.
- Population: Proposal states that the
species’ habitat is very reduced and fragmented and that, according to
local settlers, populations are also very reduced.
- Threats: Illegal international trade;
habitat loss due to agriculture expansion.
- Trade: Not legally traded in Bolivia;
significant illegal trade in both live and dead specimens for private
collectors: 634 specimens seized in 2007 alone; though no exports
authorized from Bolivia, specimens are advertised for sale on the
Internet for up to USD220 from suppliers in Canada, China, France,
Germany, Japan and Russia.