Wild animals are at the verge extinction due to illegal wildlife pet trade across borders, something that is negatively impacting tourism and peoples’ health, a new report has revealed.
An investigation report by World Animal Protect (WAP) shows that millions of wild animals, including parrots, are being captured from their habitats or born into captivity to be sold into the exotic pet trade, a growing multi-billion dollar industry that is having a devastating impact on wildlife populations across the globe.
The report named: ‘Wild at heart. The Cruelty of the exotic pet trade’ indicates that major European airlines are enabling exotic pet trade despite making commitments to combat wildlife trafficking.
“The Airlines are enabling carriers have been used to illegally transport wild-caught African grey parrots on flights from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Mali to countries in the Middle East, Western and Southern Asia,” reads the report in part.
US$30 billion wild life trade
Currently, the annual value of the wildlife trade stands at US$30 – US$42.8 billion but shockingly, up to $20 billion is estimated to be illegal where the substantial proportion of this economic value is in endangered and protected species being traded as pets.
“But whether captive bred or poached from their wild environment, the trade has devastating impact on the animals forced to endure a life of captivity, both mentally and physically. Legal or illegal, it is all cruel,” the report reads.
Air transport, Internet connectivity
According to the report, ease of access to transnational commercial air transport and global internet connectivity are helping to drive both the desire for and the availability of exotic pets and hastening a massive boom in the trade.
“This massive expansion of the exotic pet trade now causes millions and millions of wild animals to experience suffering, pain and premature death each year. It is also causing catastrophic decline in some species and in biodiversity in some parts of the world. And because the trade in some of these animals can easily and unwittingly
spread disease, they are also a major threat to human health and public safety,” reads the report.
The report shows that wild animals suffer at every step of the journey from capture to handling, transport, holding, breeding, sale and the life of captivity in the home. Over 500 species of birds and 500 species of reptiles are traded around the world.
“And the journey is cruel. The mortality rate is high, in some instances, the post capture death rate has been as high as 90 percent.
Those who survives are subject to a lifetime of chronic physical and psychological suffering,” says the report adding that the methods used to snatch the wild animals from their natural habitats are cruel, barbaric and inhumane.
African grey parrot
It is alleged that two thirds of African grey parrots will die during capture before being sold to traders.
African grey parrots are considered one of the world’s most illegally trafficked birds with an estimated 2-3million deemed to have been poached from African forests over the last 40 years.
In 2016, a number of measures were taken by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to protect these birds.
Edith Kabesiime, the Wild Campaign manager at WAP, says that the illegal and illicit elements of the trade are often aided by government corruption and inadequate enforcement of the laws.
“Shockingly, as recently as August 2018, African grey parrots were transported from by a major European airline between Kishasha (DRC) and Kuwait via Instanbul (Turkey) with more than 60 found dead on arrival,” she said.
Kabesiime asked the people to desist from buying, owning or breeding a
wild pet saying that life in captivity is a world away from a life.
Tennyson William, the director in charge of Africa at WAP explained that once the wild animals are in peoples’ homes, there is realistic way to replicate the space and freedom the animals would have in the wild.
“Many animals are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitats and they do not have the correct nutrition, even if owners have their best intentions to feed them properly,” he added.
By David Sseguya