Animal trafficking is a Worldwide problem
Animal trafficking is a billion dollar industry. Wild animals provide an interest among people that go beyond seeing them as cute or adorable. Fashionistas crave the feel of real chinchilla on their skin. They love to touch the crocodile skin of their bag and the comfort of mink slippers on their feet. Practitioners of traditional medicine need some parts of wild animals to create medicinal concoctions. Then there are the adventurers who just want to eat exotic food with ingredients using exotic animals.
There is a market for wildlife, which is why animal trafficking is a large industry managed by organized criminals. It takes a lot of money as well as will to circumnavigate the law, and allow the movement of wild animals from one country to another.
On Thursday, January 23, 2020, authorities arrested two people for attempting to smuggle some animals from Australia. They animals were supposed to head to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Authorities seized 43 lizards, 40 turtles, 30 snakes, 22 tortoises, 22 frogs, and five salamanders. There were also around 19 reptile eggs included in the mix. Australian reptiles are said to be in-demand in Asian countries. These reptiles can either be sold as pets or as main ingredients for restaurants that serve exotic dishes.
The knack for eating exotic food turned out quite terrible for Wuhan, China where the notoriously dangerous novel coronavirus was said to originate. A wildlife market was closed in the city as authorities believed it was the source of the virus. The market has animals in cages and vendors butchered them when there are buyers. Among the exotic animals found in the market were wolf pups, civets, bamboo rats, salamanders, among others. The live animals lived in crammed cages and were forced to pee and poop in their enclosures.
According to this story, pangolins are the most trafficked animals. They are also very easy to catch because when there is a threat, they will just curl up into a ball. The meat of pangolins is cooked while their scales are used in traditional medicine. Nothing is wasted in a pangolin.
Pets and status symbols
Another popular reason for animal trafficking is because rich people are willing to pay a lot of money just to be able to own exotic pets. Primates are among the most trafficked animals to be kept as pets. Among them are orangutans, chimps, lorises, capuchins, macaques and tamarins, among others. Snakes and lizards are also among the favorites among the trafficked animals to be used as pets.
Of course, it is no secret that elephants are being illegally poached all over Africa for their tusks, which are sold as ivory. Tigers are already considered endangered. If authorities and organizations fail to put a lid on illegal poaching, there might come a time when the next generations wont know what a tiger looks like. They are being poached for their pelt and bones; the former for fashion, and the latter for medicine.
Some rich Africans are also reportedly willing to pay a lot of money to own the tail of a giraffe as a status symbol. Since many Africans live in poverty, they resort to poaching to earn a living.