Authorities warn of increase in wildlife trafficking in Colombia

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In 2011, just in the north of the country, the authorities seized 76 wild animals, mostly birds and primates.

The trafficking of these species is a crime that allows up to nine years in prison and fines exceeding $ 100 million.

Since 1911 the images of the gold peak ducks, blue peak and cira diver ceased to appear in the books of natural sciences, because hunting and illegal trafficking led to extinction.

Today it is feared that parrots, macaws, monkeys, turtles, various species of birds, armadillos and other animals suffer the same fate, because of those evils and what some call ‘myths’ about remedies made with feathers and shells of some wildlife species.

And it is only in Cartago in 2011 the authorities seized 76 animals, while this year go 14, including bush dogs, a boa, an ibis and a toucan.

But even anteaters are part of the inventory of rescued animals, although birds, monkeys, iguanas, armadillos and the most trafficked guatines.

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Wildlife trafficking is considered the third most lucrative illegal business in the world after drug trafficking and illegal arms trade, according to Interpol.

In Colombia, in June 2011 was issued the Law 1453, in which crime is seen as exploitation, introduction, transportation, maintenance, traffic and the exploration of wild faunal specimens.

According to this new rule, those who commit this crime will pay imprisonment of four to nine years or fines in excess of $ 100 million.
However, in the village of Robledo has not imposed any sanction on that account so far.

According to the study ‘Wildlife Trade in Colombia’, the Attorney General’s Office, between 1996 and 2004, recorded “1,639 investigations, compared with 251,776 seized animals, 45 of them ended in a penalty fine and 263 in a different sanction… . ie, sanctions reach only 18.79% of the investigations initiated. ”

The mayor of the Environmental Police Jorge Castaneda admitted that there are difficulties in applying the law and that seizures are registered as voluntary surrenders, because to remove the animal of the houses it requires a search warrant “that is difficult to obtain” .

He added that while networks have not been identified for the trafficking of these species, the problem is that people go and “throw away” animals in parks or on the street, when they are larger or ill.

Some arrive in good condition, but others show changes in behavior to have lived with humans for a long time and that “this is very difficult to regain.”

However, beyond these problems, animals and people living with them are exposed to diseases caused by infectious agents that reproduce by unsanitary conditions or transport of these “many human diseases also can infect animals and this hinders its recovery. ”

Such is the case of skin parasites in a human or a dog does not cause much problem, but a monkey could leave him bald.

Constant threat

Having wildlife as a pet or sell it are not the only threats they face.

No record of spectacled bears, jaguars and pumas that are threatened by hunting, and many birds native to this area as the compass, the cock of rock and turkeys, dying into men hands .

Thus, environmentalists and authorities are calling on the community to refrain from removing of its natural environment or buy wildlife for not to cause irreparable damage to nature.

FROM | www.elpais.com.co

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