the capture to prison
The animals you see behind the bars of the zoos, in the circus shows,
sleeping in pet shops or swimming in aquariums do not belong to
the man-made captive species, but are captured in their own natural
The capture methods are very violent and cruel, and often involve
killing the parents or other member of the group of a young individual
while they try to defend their offspring.
The traffickers profit from the poverty of the locals and convince
them for a few dollars to catch and give them animals, most of the
times endangered ones.
After being captured the animals are put into cages for
days, without water or food, until they reach the western
Due to the stress, denutrition and aggressive behaviours
caused by overcrowded cages, only 10 to 50% of the animals
arrive alive to destination. Many animals don't even survive to
the capture and to the time just after that.
Once arrived at destination animals have to face new
climatic conditions and an inadequate nutrition. The stress
is so severe that many animals, particularly in circus and zoos, let themselves die.
Fish from south American rivers are sorted out in Bogotà
and Florida. They are left without food for weeks. Loaded on an
aeroplane in pressurised bags, only 5% gets to destination.
Some fish are fished in tropical seas using faked coral
reefs. Less than a half arrive alive to European aquariums.
legal and illegal traffic
How do animals get to Europe? Parrots are captured in Amazonian
forests, stop in the States before getting to Europe, where they
go through some sorting centres like Holland. Iguanas from the farms
in central America travel to the Sates, where they attend a 3 days
quarantine, stuffed with antibiotics.
The exotic animal boom also lives on a traffic run by organised
criminality. It's a millions of Euro business, just behind the drug
and weapon traffic. You can find illegally imported animals with
faked documents in markets or by certain agencies. In order to make
a regular sale the animal needs to be delivered together with a
particular certificate called CITES, and a receipt. The CITES can
be falsified or it can belong to a dead animal.
There are then animals which cannot be sold, like some small monkeys,
because of the Ebola virus. If they are found by the authorities
they end up in primate recovering centres or in zoos, and like the
other sequestred exotic animals, they cannot go back to the wild
because there isn't money enough. Another example is the Trachemys-case,
the red striped terrapins that threaten the European ones by colonising
their territory. The import had been prohibited by law, but they
still come to Europe going through Holland.
animal products market
Beside the live animal commerce, there also is a flourishing market
of skin, horns, tusks, claws, internal organs extracts (like gland
extracts) and much more. Combs, jewels, knick-knacks made of turtle
carapace, elephant's tusks, zebra's and leopard skin, shark tooth,
shells, seastars and seahorses, ivory things, are just few examples
of a stupid fashion made with animal body parts.Capture and killing
methods are particularly cruel since what counts in this market
it's just a part of the animal and not the alive being. It's about
careless poachers that have little time and cannot always wait until
the animal is dead before skinning it or taking the parts that they
The last data from KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) reveal that local
poaching is increasing with a rhythm of 5% yearly. An average of
an elephant every hour is killed for the ivory of its tusks.
The products coming from protected species (leopard, turtle, ocelot,
elephant, rhino) cannot be legally imported, unless it's possible
to prove that they come from authorised breeding farms.
Human vanity reaches the extent of buying dried monkeys
hands or heads to use them as knick-knacks, in order to satisfy
the greed of "unique and exotic objects".