Hirudo medicinalis (Medicinal Leech)

Criteria met:  High volume (globally threatened)

Principal trade term to the EU:  derivatives

Percentage of global trade to the EU:  52%

Principal source:  captive-bred

Top EU importer:  Latvia

Top Trading Partner:  Ukraine, Russian Federation

CITES Appendix:  II

IUCN Status:  Near Threatened

EU-reported imports of live Hirudo medicinalis from the two main sources (‘W’ reported in kg, and ‘C’ excluding trade reported in kg) all purposes, 2001-2010.

EU imports in 2010 principally comprised captive-bred derivatives (198,960) and live specimens (83,000) traded for commercial purposes; 1,775 kg of wild-sourced live specimens were also imported. Live imports from both captive-bred and wild sources increased between 2009 and 2010, by 38% and 6%, respectively. Imports of captive-bred derivatives increased by 4% over the same period.

The majority of the wild-sourced live specimens were exported directly from Turkey (72%), with 25% originating in Serbia and the remainder from an unknown country of origin. The captive-bred derivatives primarily originated in Ukraine (90%) with the remainder originating in the Russian Federation.

The SRG formed a positive opinion for specimens from all countries on 22/07/1997, and reconfirmed the positive opinion for specimens from Turkey on 11/03/2011. Following taxonomic changes adopted at CITES CoP15, Hirudo verbana from southeastern Europe is now recognised as a species distinct from H. medicinalis; the SRG formed a positive opinion for H. verbana on 03/12/2010 which was confirmed on 11/03/2011.