Wildlife crime is big business and World Wildlife Day (3 March 2020) is the perfect opportunity to remember that we can all play a part in bringing this illegal trade to an end.
While it’s almost impossible to obtain reliable figures for the value of the illegal wildlife trade, what is known is that international crime networks traffic wildlife and animal parts much like illegal drugs and arms. They use tactics similar to drug traffickers, with animals worn on the body, sent through the post, and shipped as freight.
Our unique flora and fauna are especially prized overseas. Lizards, reptiles and birds are popular trophies, with many destined for the USA, Japan and Europe, where collectors will pay big sums.
In fact, Australia’s seven black cockatoo species are highly sought after, with some individual birds fetching up to $30,000.
Not only is it a biosecurity risk, this harmful trade attacks our agricultural industry, native animal populations and spreads disease. Dumped animals compete with native animals for food and habitat and removing them is also costly.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is also incredibly stressful on the animals. They face extremes of temperature, asphyxiation, dehydration, starvation and trauma.
And while many animals don’t survive the trip, the high prices commanded by those animals that do survive means that traffickers are able to easily cover the losses.
So, remember to be on the lookout for illegal animal trafficking – on the internet, in markets, and amongst people you know.
If you have any information about wildlife traffickers or illegal wildlife owners, report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online to www.crimestoppers.com.au