HomeNewsBriefColombia Eco-Trafficking Facilitated by Public Indifference: Experts
BRIEF

Colombia Eco-Trafficking Facilitated by Public Indifference: Experts

COLOMBIA / 31 JAN 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Ten trafficked animals are recovered each day at Colombia's busiest airport, marking the extent of this thriving illegal trade, which experts say is being left unchallenged by public indifference.

According to a press release from Colombia's National University, 160 animals were seized in the first 15 days of the year at Bogota's El Dorado Airport, contributing to an average national monthly haul of 1,700 wild animals. Among the most commonly seized animals in 2013 were orange-chinned parakeets, hicotea turtles and white-footed tamarin monkeys, the report said.

As stated in the press release, a group of investigators from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Zoology at the National University has said the illegal trade is facilitated by the public's lack of knowledge about the importance of indigenous species.

Mario Delgado, a member of the investigation team, said, "A large percentage of people know someone who has had (including themselves) wild animals, but if you ask them if they would take a wild animal from its habitat they all say no." Delgado said this contradictory way of thinking makes it difficult to create a consciousness about the severity of the problem.

The majority of trafficked animals are captured in the departments of Caqueta, Choco, Arauca, and Putumayo, and then taken to Bogota. Many animals, however, die during transport due to poor conditions, mistreatment, and stress, with only one in ten animals surviving the journey. According to the report, some of the largest international markets for the animals are Spain, France, the United States and Canada.

The investigation also found that animal trafficking is not limited to living animals, with dead and stuffed animals, as well as meat, skin, and bones, commonly trafficked.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite strict legislation protecting wildlife in Colombia, the volume of animals being illegally trafficked is huge, suggesting a failure to effectively enforce the law and pursue those engaged in the trade. According to a recent report, Colombian authorities confiscate over 58,000 animals annually -- representing a small fraction of the total number being trafficked. That nine out of ten animals die during transit only reveals how extremely lucrative the industry is.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Eco-Trafficking

Colombia itself represents the largest market for its native wild animals, with a strong local demand for exotic pets and food items. However, the trade becomes far more profitable when the animals are sold on the international market, fetching up to 100 times their price at the place of origin.

The global illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth $10 to $20 billion per year, with the university report suggesting it is the third most lucrative illegal trade to international organized crime, after drugs and arms.

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

BRAZIL / 28 DEC 2021

There was record destruction of the Amazon in 2020, as the rainforest lost an area around the size of Belize,…

BRAZIL / 31 DEC 2021

Prediction of the criminal dynamics for 2022 is even harder than most years, as it involves predicting the march of…

COLOMBIA / 30 APR 2021

An investigation into an expansive money laundering scheme in Colombia has revealed how black-market brokers cultivate networks of front-companies and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…