Saturday Star article by Sheree Bega.
Small creatures stuffed inside coffe tins and passed undetected through custome, snakes chilled (to make them sleepy and less likely to move) and shipped out in containers, cheetah snatched from the wild and wold to international zoos and private collectors.
These are some alarming examples of how South Africa is becoming a hub for the illegal wildfile trade, and there is global recognition of this says wildlife expert Karen Trendler,
She points out how illegal traders have used the focus on the surge in rhino poaching in recent years to target almost every other wildlife species.
Illegal traders have used the opportunity while the focus has been on rhino poaching .. The illegal trade has increased.
A lot of wildlife is used for the Muti and medicinal trade.
But it's become a status symbol to have exotic cheetahs in private collections in Dubai, for example. In Europe the huge thing is spiders, beetles and frogs and they are hammering our reptiles.
The wildlife traffickers have indenious ways of hiding wildlife. (But) The mortality that goes with it is shocking. Smaller species like frogs, some mammals and birds are stuffed into things like coffee tins, or they put six birds inside a map box.
Rynette Coetzee of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) says it's cleare that the current focus is on the poaching of rhinos "which leaves no time for investigating any other biodiversiity crimes."
"With the focus on rhino poaching it has just become so much easier for people to ply their illegal trade ... Information from confidential sources has pointed to the fact that specifically bird and reptile smugglers have picked up on this and there has been a substantial increase in specifically bird smuggling.
I say - WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO. The Lord created these beatiful wild creatures to be left and enjoyed where they are. Not to go and be eventually forgotten in a fish tank or bird cage. SHAME ON YOU - THE SMUGGLERS AND THE BUYERS.