Hirudo medicinalis (Medicinal Leech)

Again meeting the criteria for high volume trade in a globally threatened species, in 2011 EU imports of H. medicinalis consisted primarily of live individuals (120 000 captive-bred individuals and 450 kg of wild-sourced individuals), with notable quantities of captive-bred medicine and derivatives also imported (55 264 and 36 752 units, respectively); the majority of trade was for commercial purposes. Live trade primarily originated in the Russian Federation, while the majority of the trade in derivatives and medicine originated in Ukraine. Between 2010 and 2011, live imports (reported without units) increased by 45%, while imports of derivatives (including medicine and extract, reported without units) decreased by 55%. A positive opinion for all countries was formed on 22/07/1997, which was removed for the population of the Russian Federation at SRG 58 on 02/12/2011 and for the population of Ukraine at SRG 61 on 11/09/2012 (SRG 58/11 and SRG 61/12, respectively).

2010 Summary for Hirudo medicinalis (Medicinal Leech)

Criteria met:  High volume (globally threatened)

Principal trade term to the EU:  derivatives

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.