5368 live wild animals, victims of trafficking, were seized in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil in the first half of 2022

269 news reports on seizures of illegal wildlife specimens were registered between January and June of this year in the Andean-Amazon countries. The report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) revealed that 183 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes were found, and continue to be threatened by illegal wildlife trade in these countries. 

The register of news on these seizures, as a result of enforcement actions by government agencies, made it possible to identify that the specimens belonged to 183 species. Among these, it is estimated that the 5,368 live individuals seized in these countries were possibly destined to the pet market, private collections, or human consumption. Of these, 65.5% were reptiles, 23.8% birds, 5.7% mammals, 0.9% amphibians, and 3.9% fish.

Among the species most frequently found in confiscations are the River turtle (Trachemys sp.); the Saffron finch (Sicalis flaveola), and the Cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), the latter listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in the red list of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as a species critically endangered. Other species prevalent in the seizures were the taricaya turtle or river peta (Podocnemis unifilis) and the paiche or pirarucu fish (Arapaima gigas), which is listed in the Appendix II of CITES, meaning that it could become threatened with extinction unless its international trade is strictly controlled.

”The illegal extraction and without criteria of sustainability of species of wild origin weaken ecosystems, making them more fragile and vulnerable to climatic effects or diseases; which impacts, directly or indirectly, the human groups that depend on these natural resources to live. It also generates a significant loss of biodiversity that is one of the main assets of the countries in our region”, commented Adrian Reuter, WCS’s senior advisor on illegal wildlife trade for Latin America and the Caribbean, referring to the impacts of this crime.

Regarding seizures in the countries, the figures revealed:

"These figures are evidence of the continuity of wildlife trafficking. The final destination of seized live specimens is unknown; however, due to the volumes involved, it is suspected that this live fauna would cover existing demand for diverse uses, including pets. The high demand from the population contributes to the continuity of this crime” explains Yovana Murillo, Manager of WCS Counter Wildlife Trafficking program in the Andes, Amazon & Orinoco region.

As part of the judicial proceedings against wildlife trafficking, 91 people were arrested: 51 people in Colombia, 23 in Brazil (Amazonas and Acre), 7 in Bolivia, 7 in Ecuador, and 3 in Peru. Furthermore, 34 cases of wildlife trafficking in the judicial stage were registered in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

A total of 98 suspects have been prosecuted between January and June of this year. Within these reported cases, 10 resulted in convictions. In this period, the highest prison sentence for wildlife trafficking was 4 years and 6 months, imposed in Peru. 

Find the complete information about this report

About this report by WCS

Since 2019, within the framework of the Alliance for Wildlife and Forests, WCS has been monitoring news about seizures of wildlife or its parts, in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil (states of Acre and Amazon). Based on the news reports published by government authorities in their information portals and social networks, an infographic is elaborated and disseminated every six months with the results of wild fauna frequently found in those confiscations.

Regarding the Alliance for Wildlife and Forests

The Alliance for Wildlife and Forests is a regional action promoted by the European Union and implemented by WCS and WWF that seeks to combat wildlife and timber trafficking through the commitment of civil society to strengthening the application of the law and cooperation with and between the authorities of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and tri-border areas with Brazil.

For media related communication please contact:

Dora Arévalo [email protected] Senior Communications Specialist- Counter Wildlife Trafficking program – Andes, Amazon & Orinoco region.

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