Endangered species in wildlife trade: Identifying rare and endangered species commercialised in the markets of southern Morocco using molecular methods

As an intrinsic part of Moroccan life, many markets are used for trade in plants and other organic materials. In collaboration with Cadi Ayyad University and the University of Uppsala’s Department of Evolution, Genomics and Systematics, in 2003 Global Diversity Foundation conducted research to identify species traded in Marrakech markets and the surrounding regions. Utilising applied research, our regional team identified, documented and catalogued commercialised rare and endangered plant species.

Identifying rare and endangered species

To decrease the number of endangered species sold in markets, in collaboration with local partners, we developed a methodology to identify plant species, and by using appropriate plant identification techniques, misidentification of plant species can be reduced. In turn, this reduction enhances the conservation of endangered species through proper identification and educational programmes aimed at both local consumers and tourists. The endangered species database, including the most commercialised species, expands as local partners catalogue both individual components of multiple plant mixtures.