Endangered Species smuggling

Since the beginning of civilization, man has always used his environment and the available flora and fauna for his own needs. Initially man started hunting animals only for the purpose of food and eventually animals were being hunted for their hide and other attributes. The world lies on a thin balance of ecological system and when this system is disturbed then there are huge consequences to pay. Today man has walked a long mile in terms of development and sufficing necessity. But till today animals are mercilessly being hunted and abducted for a new purpose and i. e.

of having them as trophies or using them as a sign of plaque to their peculiar society. The seriousness of the situation can be analyzed from the fact that animals that are endangered and are known to the world as species that would get extinct from the face of the earth are the most prized possession and people are smuggling these animals without single remorse on their conscience. Endangered animal smuggling has been happening from centuries, and this illegal trade today has peaked and reached a new high with use of new and improved technology to capture these animals for trade.

This illegal trade is estimated to be worth more than $10 billion world wide and is still growing heavily. People living in United States of America, Japan and other parts of Europe have developed a trend for keeping exotic and endangered animals as pets, and these people are willing to shed $50,000 for animals like Komodo dragon and $20,000 for the pigmy marmoset. This interest by common people has brought a boom in the illegal trade as these smugglers know that they can extract a good value for these animals.

More and more smuggling of these animals have made them almost extinct now, which is also considered a positive sign in the trade as the rate foe the most endangered animal skyrockets more, making their pockets heavier. It is not only the professional smugglers that are doing the trade but amateurs who just want the animal for themselves are also participating in this horrendous trade. People would go all out just to bring these illegal animals in to new countries, and there reports of people smuggling the marmoset babies in their hair.

The following piece will explain the one of the bizarre things of common people smuggling endangered animals: ‘A was man caught with six eggs from endangered species in his underwear as he was preparing to fly to Bangkok was fined 25,000 Australian dollars (US$20,000) Monday by a judge who rejected his claim that he only wanted to surprise his girlfriend’. (Courtesy: Associated press, “Is that an endangered species in your pocket? ”. July 17th 2006. Retrieved on November 5, 2008 from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/13898199/)

Illegal trade of endangered animals is also on a rampant increase because some of the animals are said to have medicinal value and people who believe in this system are ready to pay exuberant amounts of money. Usage of animals mostly is done in Chinese medicines. Though there are lots of wildlife protection bodies, it somehow has no effect on this art of healing. The Chinese medicines are said to cure from cancer to impotency, and these are the kinds of illness where individuals are desperate for their cures.

Because of the practice of using animals in medicinal purposes, it has single handedly being responsible for the deaths of numerous rhinos as rhino hors are said to have medicinal value and also of sea horses which are used for multiple disorders. Tigers and sea turtle are other examples of animals coming close to extinction as they are being used for medicinal purposes. Brazil too has followed suit and has been incapable of helping endangered animals that are used of Brazil’s medicinal purposes. The following will explain the amount of animals being used for sufficing Brazil’s medicinal needs.

‘The report identified 283 species being used for medicinal purposes. Nearly all of these are caught in the wild and 75 of them are on one or more endangered species list’. (Courtesy: Jeremy Hance, “A comprehensive look at the use of animals in Brazilian medicine”. December 10, 2007. Retrieved on November 5, 2008 from http://news. mongabay. com/2007/1210-hance_animal_medicine. html) Endangered animals are also used as culinary preferences in some Chinese cuisines and irrespective whether the animal is endangered or not, these hapless animals are being served on platters to selected customers.

Animals when they are picked from their natural habitat have to undergo a lot cruelty. Firstly infants are preferred for smuggling, so in the process of catching these infants their mothers are brutally shot down or cut with swords. It is very normal routine for the poachers to kill and cut down the entire family of a gorilla, just so that they can have got the infant gorilla for smuggling. The infant is normally traumatized a lot by seeing their mother or family being killed and also in the process of capturing many of these animals get injured severely.

Because of this selfish trade, poachers are actually wiping out firstly the female population of endangered specie as the female is the first to protect her infant. This creates a blank portal ecologically for that species with less no. of females. Secondly endangering any specie greatly shakes the ecological balance of a forest, for instance if all the tigers are poached in a forest, than herbivores would breed more ultimately they would be less of grass and ultimately the forest becomes a dry land. Poachers also burn forests in their evil objective of gaining the animal.

They normally follow this practice to scare and ward off animals, especially when it is of larger mammals like elephants. Apart from technological developments, illegal poaching has been of the biggest factors that have affected habitats and destroyed environments. The illegal trade not only affects the animals and the environment in a bad way but affects the current lives of humans too. There are certain diseases that come across from these animals that can cause havoc in the human population. China had to face heavily because of the illegal trade of the civet cat.

The following will explain the level of danger individuals have to encounter because of people indulging in illegal trade of endangered animals: ‘Among the protected animals on sale are civet cats, which are believed to have sparked the 2003 worldwide outbreak of SARS. It infected more than 8,000 people and killed more than 800, including 349 in China’. (Courtesy: Stephanie Wong, “Illegal wildlife trade in China undiminished by bans, health threats”. 12th February 2007. Retrieved on November 5, 2008 from http://www. wildsingapore. com/news/20070102/070212-6. htm)

There are international bodies trying to protect these endangered animals to get extinct. ‘TRAFFIC’ is a non government based organization that over the period of time has become a large monitoring network and keeps a vigilant eye on animals being traded of borders or being smuggled into nations. The following example of TRAFFIC’s work will shed light on the superior monitoring work crusaded by them. ‘In 1997, an international network monitoring global trade in endangered species, reported that bird smuggling in New Zealand was being carried out by organized crime syndicates’.

(Courtesy: OECD, “New Zealand”. Page204. Retrieved on November 5, 2008 . Published by OECD Publishing, 2007). The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) have done an excellent job in gathering resources and finances for the preservation of endangered animals, however their irony is the logo of the organization which is a panda who is almost on the verge of extinction. Another Organization ‘CITES’ ( the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a very sound union as it has a tendency to tie up with governments of the nations and then work for the endangered animals.

Today every government has a list send by CITES which has endangered animals species on it and it helps the government to track this illegal trade by knowing the current scenarios of endangered species. Texas laws are appreciable for protecting domestic animals from cruelty and there is reasonable punishment in the law book for offenders. However Texas permits wild animals to be kept as pets, which in one way is a helps the smugglers as Texan citizens are allowed officially to keep animals like tigers and lions irrespective of being on the endangered list.

Secondly the law only requires the owner of the wild animal to register them with the government and these animals do come into the law for domestic animals, thus there is no proper entanglement for protection of wild animals. The endangered animals being smuggled only denigrates the ecological system and brings the animals and humans to a risk in terms of being injured and diseases being spread. The only way for this to end is to follow the famous motto, ‘If the buying stops, so does the killing’.


1) Associated press, “Is that an endangered species in your pocket?”. July 17th 2006. from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/13898199/ 2) Jeremy Hance, “A comprehensive look at the use of animals in Brazilian medicine”. December 10, 2007. from http://news. mongabay. com/2007/1210-hance_animal_medicine. html 3) Stephanie Wong, “Illegal wildlife trade in China undiminished by bans, health threats”. 12th February 2007. http://www. wildsingapore. com/news/20070102/070212-6. htm 4) Courtesy: OECD, “New Zealand”. Page204. Retrieved on November 5, 2008 . Published by OECD Publishing, 2007 5) http://flaflooga. com/trophy_hunting. php