Pet buyers beware – Many exotic pets may be illegal13/12/2012 17:04:37 Consumers beware: is your pet legal?
December 2012-Consumers buying pets should be aware of a new phenomenon, whereby the animals on sale are actually illegally sourced from the wild rather than legally captive bred.
In recent years, TRAFFIC has been gathering evidence of the laundering of animals collected from the wild, but declared as "bred in captivity" to evade international regulatory controls such as CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
Many of the animal species are popular as pets, including tortoises, turtles, birds, frogs, lizards, snakes and some mammals. Examples include Horsfield's Tortoise Testudo horsfieldii and the Spiny Turtle Heosemys spinosa, both classified by IUCN as threatened with extinction in the wild.
Green tree pythons
To help raise awareness of the growing phenomenon, TRAFFIC has compiled a short illustrated publication detailing a number of such examples, based on analysis of trade data. The leaflet will be distributed to help consumers make informed choices about animals they intend to buy and to ask the right questions of the retailers.
Buying a pet for Christmas?
Each government that becomes a Party to CITES designates both Scientific and Management Authorities to apply the rules of the Convention. Contact information for these authorities can be found on the CITES website.
"Most responsible pet owners would be devastated if they discovered they had inadvertently supported wildlife crime or that their purchase had helped make a wild animal more threatened in its natural habitat," said Crook.
"Purchasers' concern creates a powerful incentive for suppliers to ensure they have evidence their animals for sale are legally sourced."
Have you seen animals for sale and suspect the seller/breeder may not be declaring their true origin? If so, please contact TRAFFIC at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local TRAFFIC office.