By Laura G. Shields
Think of the illegal wildlife trade, and elephant tusks and rhino horns come to mind. But another of the world's largest land mammals is slipping under the radar: the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) may be at greater risk than previously believed, according to a new analysis of the international trade in hippo teeth.
Hippo ivory, from their large canines and incisors, is an affordable alternative to elephant ivory (international trade in elephant ivory is increasingly restricted). Its legal trade quotas are agreed upon by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But when researchers looked into CITES trade records for an investigation recently published in the African Journal of Ecology, the numbers looked suspicious.