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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 4 SEP 2012

More than 59,000 wild animals are illegally captured each year in Colombia and smuggled to Bogota, a city that has…

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 22 JUN 2016

A new report documents 2015 as the worst year on record for murders of land and environmental defenders. Latin American…

COLOMBIA / 10 JUL 2013

Notorious Colombian drug trafficker Daniel "El Loco" Barrera has been extradited to the United States, marking the end of the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…