Conservation Status of the Argentine Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor occidentalis) 20 Years After Being Listed in CITES Appendix I
Twenty years after the species was listed in CITES Appendix I, we carried out a comprehensive review of the conservation status of the Argentine Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor occidentalis) in Argentina. We compiled background information on trade, biology, and distribution. We evaluated the historical range on the basis of museum and literature records, and later adjusted it to incorporate environmental variables. We carried out 573 interviews with local residents regarding the historical presence of the species and the ways in which it was used. Using a rapid assessment of woody vegetation cover, we estimated the degree of habitat loss in Argentina. We conclude that CITES has been very effective in stopping the international trade and almost completely eliminating hunting pressure on this snake throughout Argentina. However, suitable boa habitat has been reduced by one third to approximately 30 million ha from a historical extent of occurrence of about 42 million ha in the Dry Chaco ecoregion. Loss of suitable habitat is mainly due to recent expansion in agricultural and livestock production. This subspecies is still common throughout its range; however, recent trends in habitat loss led us to conclude that the Argentine Boa Constrictor meets at least one of the CITES criteria for retention in Appendix I, at least until the recently enacted forest protection law proves its effectiveness in protecting the remaining Chaco forests of Argentina.
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