Poaching in Latin America: A common threat

The bloody business of poaching: While lots of people know about poaching in Africa – such as elephants and their ivory tusks – only a few are aware of poaching in Latin America. Learn more in our blog article


A scarlet macaw is a truly stunning creature – many people would like to have one as a pet and think they receive a bird bred in captivity. What sounds bad enough, becomes even worse: especially in Latin America these birds are oftentimes victims of poachers.

Particularly birds from Latin America and the Caribbean are found to be the most beautiful ones because of their colourful feathering and and their unique ability to mimic human speech. Many people would like to own such an animal and if they buy one, they think they bought a bird bred in captivity. What they actually don’t realise: these birds fell victim to poaching.

Poaching is not a threat in Africa only

While lots of people know about poaching in Africa (for example elephants and their ivory tusks), only a few are aware of poaching in Latin America.

In Latin America poachers hunt and capture parrots, turtles and monkeys to sell them illegally – often on black markets and for tons of money. One in five species on Earth is on the brink of extinction; leading biologists think that this will rise to 50% by the end of the century – a sad phenomenon mainly caused by human beings.

Animals suffer and die during transport

In most cases, the animals are being transported under cruel conditions – as an example: beak s and feet of a parrot are taped and the animals are stuffed in plastic tubes. Baby turtles can be taped to stay in their egg shell and are placed in small tubes of dozens. Poachers even intentionally kill the animals they stole from nature: in one case, 400 iguanas were left in a crate without food, water or daylight for about two weeks because a dealer cancelled the arrangement – about half of them was found dead. Sadly, many animals often are too sick to be saved – there is no chance for them to be cured.


A danger for humanity

Poaching is a true danger to human health: while more and more non-domestic species are imported into other countries, we run the risk to infect with diseases that originate from these non-traditional pets and will not find a cure in an accurate time. We should keep in mind: 75% of all new infectious diseases (such as SARS and the West Nile virus) originate from animals.

More species affected than thought

While most people have in mind that mainly elephants and lions are victims of poaching in Africa, even more species are affected. Especially in Southern America poachers hunt and sell lizards, monkeys, tapirs, fish, jaguars, caimans and even turtles. In almost every case, poachers rob turtle eggs in Costa Rica from their nests and trade them – including inhabitants of the country. Keep in mind, that there just are 7 species of sea turtles left on earth.

For further information, especially on poaching parrots in Latin America, visit Rev. Dr. Lora Kim Joyner´s blog on One Earth Conservation and learn more about the threats and consequences of poaching.

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