Human Interest

Covid-19, a chance to end exotic pet trade

Madrid, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- The international growing trade of exotic animals on the internet is encouraging the purchase of endangered species, causing a devastating impact on their survival, according to a documentary and report by the NGO World Animal Protection.

The study discusses the responsibility social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, and e-commerce sites have in the matter as they are “increasing both the consumer demand, and market availability of exotic pets”.

Millions of wild animals are either poached or bred in captivity to be traded on the multi-billion dollar exotic pet market, a “bomb for infectious and deadly diseases”, since these animals are often kept in cages in dire conditions, according to World Animal Protection.

The coronavirus epidemic and regular outbreaks of salmonella infections “highlight how proximity between stressed and injured wildlife and humans can be a dangerous cocktail,” the organisation said.

The report demanded the “end the exotic pet trade, not only for animal welfare and biodiversity, but also to protect human health”.

Reptiles represent 20 per cent of the exotic pet trade market and the conditions in which breeders keep the animals “are failing to meet even the minimum care standards”, as they are kept in small plastic and glass containers, the NGO warned.

It is estimated that out of the nine million exotic species people in the United States keep, 51 per cent are reptiles and that even when intentions are good their physical necessities can never be fulfilled meaning many die before the year.

In the study and documentary, World Animal Protection highlighted the plight of the African royal python, the most legally traded live animal in Africa, a continent that, in 45 years, has exported more than three million specimens to Europe, Asia and especially the US.

The breeding of snakes on farms in West Africa depends directly on the poaching of animals in the wild, which are taken from their burrows and transported in bags along with other specimens, which causes them distress, injuries, diseases and sometimes death.

Cassandra Koenen, global head of Wildlife not Pets at World Animal Protection, said the “trade of Ball pythons as exotic pets is a massive global market that has impacted millions of animals over the last several decades”.

“They are one of the most misunderstood species, these animals suffer cruelly from capture, through to a life of captivity,” she added. EFE / EPA


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