Exploratory Data Analysis on the Most Traded Taxon

HDSC Fall ’23 Premiere Project By Team DataNauts

5 min readFeb 6, 2024


Biodiversity preservation, also known as biodiversity conservation, refers to the proactive and intentional efforts to protect, maintain, and sustainably manage the variety of life on earth at all levels of biological organization. The goal of biodiversity preservation is to ensure the continued existence and functioning of diverse ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity within species.

Biodiversity preservation is vital for maintaining earth’s variety of life, protecting ecosystems, species, and genetic variations. It provides many advantages to both nature and humanity, such as clean air, clean water, food security, and life-saving medications. The irreversible disappearance of a particular organism from the planet is known as species extinction. Endangered species are at risk of extinction due to threats like habitat destruction, pollution, poaching and over-exploitation driven by human activities. Although extinction is a natural process, human activities have sped up the rate at which it is occurring, leading to disruptions in ecosystems, reduced genetic diversity, and far-reaching ecological and economic repercussions.

Global trade in live animals and their products is known as the “wildlife trade.” While certain types of this trade are lawful and sustainable, many others exploit species, which has a negative impact on populations and ecosystems. The illicit trafficking in wildlife is a major contributor to the decline in biodiversity.

The ongoing crisis of species extinction must be addressed by maintaining biodiversity, controlling the trade in wildlife, and safeguarding endangered species. Conservation efforts are concentrated on rescuing and preserving these species to preserve ecological balance and guarantee a sustainable future.

Problem Statement: Aims and Objectives

The aims and goal of the study are as follows:

  1. To identify the most traded Order, Family, and Genus in the Dataset
  2. To identify the most traded Taxon in each of the Top 5 most traded Order.
  3. To identify the highest importers and exporters of the most traded taxon, and the purposes for which they are traded.
  4. To identify the relationship between most traded animals, the purpose of trades and the risk of extinction.

Data Gathering and Dataset description:

The dataset used for the project was obtained from data prepared for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by UNEP via Kaggle. The dataset is a record of every international import or export conducted with species from the CITES lists in 2016. It contains columns identifying the species, the import and export countries, and the amount and characteristics of the goods being traded (which range from live animals to skins and cadavers).

Data Collection: The data collected was structured data in the form of a table, having 16 columns and 67,161 rows.

Data Preparation: The data was prepared for cleaning, transformation and analysis

Data Cleaning and Transformation: The datasets were cleaned to remove unwanted columns/variables.

Null and missing values were filled or dropped accordingly.

NaN values in importer and export reported quantity columns were replaced with zero.

Columns for origin, unit and class were dropped due to a large proportion of missing values.

Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Visualization:

Most trades recorded are transacted as a live product, followed by leather products (small)

Analyzing by the number of trades per Taxon, Crocodylus niloticus is the most traded. Having 2410 numbers of time it was traded.

Crocodylus niloticus 2410

Python reticulatus 2304

Alligator mississippiensis 2081

Crocodylus porosus 1404

Varanus salvator 956

Conclusion and Recommendation:

From the dataset

  • It was observed that Crocodylus niloticus is the most traded taxon, with about 2410 transactions according to the dataset.
  • The United States tops the importing Country for Crocodylus niloticus followed by Japan, while Italy tops the exporting country.
  • The major terms of trade for Crocodylus niloticus is as a leather products (small) and it’s most traded for commercial purpose.
  • Top traded taxons such as Crocodylus niloticus, Python reticulatus, Alligator mississippiensis, Crocodylus porosus, and Varanus salvator suggests that these species are significant in international trade, which could impact their populations and biodiversity.
  • Conservation Is one of the challenges observed from the information in the dataset, the terms associated with some certain trade like Crocodylus niloticus as leather products and loxodonta Africana as ivory carvings , etc.) suggests that conservation efforts may need to focus on habitat protection to prevent these sought for species from total extinction.




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