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Illegal Pet Trade

What is the illegal pet trade?

Illegal pet trade gathers, transports, and
distributes animals both domestically and
internationally without authorization
Wildlife crime is the largest direct threat to
many endangered species and is second only to
habitat destruction in overall treats (WWF)

What is the illegal pet trade?

Wildlife trade generates revenues of around US
$19 billion per year and is the worlds third most
profitable illicit trade (after arms and drug

Who is involved?

Criminal networks
Wildlife poachers
Illegal couriers (transporters)
Corrupt government officials

Why is illegal pet trade so widespread?

High demand in developed countries for exotic
Expansion of Internet as a global marketplace
Confusing wildlife trade laws

Why is illegal pet trade so widespread?

Lack of enforcement at local, national, and
international levels
Fast-developing economic markets

Source of revenue for extremist and terrorist
Loss of biodiversity in affected ecosystems

Animals suffer from malnutrition, loneliness,
and stress of confinement during capture and
Introduction of invasive species into ecosystems
(pet Burmese pythons let loose in Floridas

Chatuchak Market
Thailand in particular, Chatuchak Market in
Bangkok is major hub in illegal wildlife trade
Trade is driven by customers demand for exotic
animals and indifference to suffering and
inhumane treatment

Chatuchak Market
As part of Thailands commitment to ASEANWildlife Enforcement Network, the Thai
government launched a campaign in 2007 to
reduce illegal wildlife trade in the Chatuchak
area that includes hotlines for contacting

Regulations such as Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES)
Conservation organizations such as Freeland
Foundation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and
TRAFFIC (wildlife trade monitoring network)

Public education to persuade consumers to make
informed choices and reduce demand for
endangered species as pets
Increase in law enforcement efforts and support
of rural economies and livelihoods

What can you do?

Share your knowledge of the illegal pet trade with
your friends and family
Support campaigns and join clubs to reduce wildlife
trafficking in Thailand
Next time you see an exotic animal in a market in
Thailand, ask yourself these questions (ActionAsia):
How many animals died for the shop or stall to obtain the one
on display?
What kind of suffering did the animal endure en route?
Who gets rich out of this trade, and who pays the price?
What is the full and true price of buying this wild animal?