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Trade Is Exploding in Illegal Latin American Wildlife

Laurel A. Neme - Mongabay
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November 6, 2015
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Inside Illegal Wildlife Trade (The Humane Society of the United States )

With its spectacularly diverse ecosystems, rare and endemic species, remote terrain, often loophole-riddled laws, and sketchy enforcement, Latin America is a haven for a booming illegal wildlife trade.

South and Central America’s diversity is a magnet for wildlife traffickers dealing in the rare and unusual. Brazil alone holds 15-20 percent of the planet’s biological diversity and reportedly supplies 5-15 percent of the global illegal wildlife trade.

What is most notable about this unlawful trade is the range of species involved. Birds — particularly parrots, macaws and songbirds — are among the most trafficked. Reptiles, including iguanas and snakes are popular in the pet trade. Turtles are harvested for their eggs, meat, and shells; caimans for their skins.

Also striking is the immense volume and high prices obtained for illegally taken seafood delicacies — ranging from shark fins, totoaba swim bladders, sea cucumbers, and queen conch meat. A remarkable variety of other animals are also trafficked, including jaguars, armadillos, monkeys, frogs, scorpions and spiders.

The breadth and complexity of the black market trade in wildlife complicates analysis of both its scale and scope. Assessments that exist tend to focus on a single country of origin, destination, class of animal, or some combination thereof.

Despite this lack of comprehensive data, a survey of media reports on cases in South and Central America and the Caribbean provides insights into, and some measure of, the trade’s alarming dimensions.

Read the rest at Mongabay

Related: Mexico's Biggest Pet Store Chain Agrees to Stop Selling Endangered or Invasive Species (Associated Press)

Related: Mexico Cracks Down on Sale of Protected Animals Online (Riviera Maya News)

  Check out Grupo Ecologico de Puerto Vallarta

  Check out The Western Ecological Society

  Check out Ecological Group of Costa Verde

  Check out Mundo Ceiba Vallarta

  Check out Costa Verde Sustainable Resource Center

  Check out Fideicomiso Estero el Salado

  Check out Banderas Bay Initiative


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