HomeNewsBriefBolivia Seizes Thousands Of Contraband Caimans
BRIEF

Bolivia Seizes Thousands Of Contraband Caimans

BOLIVIA / 22 APR 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Bolivian police have seized 5,000 baby caimans and 500 skins ready to be smuggled to Brazil, evidence of the regional trade in contraband wildlife.

The reptiles were found on trucks traveling from San Matias, a town on the border with Brazil, and were on their way to be sold in the southeastern town of Santa Cruz, reported The Associated Press. Baby crocodiles are popular for sale as exotic pets and for their meat, said the agency, while Prensa Libre reported the skins had a value of $18,000 and were destined to be made into shoes in Brazil. 

Authorities believe eco-traffickers are making millions of dollars from the illegal wildlife trade in Bolivia, said Prensa Libre, estimating that more than 60,700 animals of 119 different species have smuggled out of the country during the last five years.

InSight Crime Analysis

The trade in reptile skins for shoes and handbags is thought to be responsible for around 85 percent of the world's crocodilians becoming endangered species. The UN estimates that between 1.1 million and 1.8 million crocodilian skins were traded each year between 1999 and 2008. 

A large proportion of that trade is legal, governed under the long-standing Convention For International Trade in Endangered Species. However the illegal trade in wildlife is huge, with estimates of annual global profits ranging between $20 billion and $70.5 billion annually. As well as being killed for fashion items and alternative medicine products, thousands of animals are sold as exotic pets, with China and the United States the largest markets.

It's a particularly lucrative business in South America, home to some of the most bio-diverse countries on the planet. More than 46,000 illegally captured animals were captured in Colombia in 2012. Animal traffickers share routes with drug traffickers, according to a 2009 report by Reuters. Santa Cruz, where the caimans were reportedly going, has become a hub for regional trafficking and criminal activity in recent years.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BOLIVIA / 10 MAY 2013

Coffee producers in Bolivia are abandoning coffee to cultivate coca, says the head of the country's coffee federation, illustrating the…

BOLIVIA / 13 MAY 2021

Smuggling networks are feeding illegal mining operations across the Amazon Basin with mercury, despite global efforts to clamp down on…

BRAZIL / 8 DEC 2010

InSight Crime translates and reprints parts of an interview Argentina's Página 12 did recently with Tarso Genro, the governor…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…

THE ORGANIZATION

Coverage of Fallen Paraguay Prosecutor Makes Headlines

20 MAY 2022

The murder of leading anti-crime prosecutor, Marcelo Pecci, while on honeymoon in Colombia, has drawn attention to the evolution of organized crime in Paraguay. While 17 people have been arrested…