According to an article published in “Science Progress”, the country is actually the largest importer of wild animals today. France ranks second, followed by Italy. Indonesia. Jamaica and Honduras are the largest exporters of wildlife. The possible link between COVID-19 and wildlife trafficking has drawn attention to legal and illegal wildlife markets.
One of the most comprehensive data sets on legal trade comes from “CITES”, which is the convention on global wildlife trade. The 21-year data set shows that the richest countries are the main wilderness destinations, often from the poorest countries. The first author of the study, Jia Huan Liew, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong, said: “What surprised us was their importance. The reason for this model is simple: people in different countries can pay higher fees.”
The study investigated 12 Widely distributed groups: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, amphibians, biomimetic animals (including corals), sharks and rays, spiders, clams (including oysters), aquatic animals (including jellyfish) and snails. Between 1998 and 2018, more than 4 million individuals in these groups were trafficked across borders. This is an estimate caused by inconsistent records.
For example, in some cases, the transaction information provided by the importing and exporting country does not match. These transactions are legal, but there is no guarantee that the transactions will not harm wild populations. The author said that restricting the trade of wildlife, including legal trade, would be a good thing. Some groups, especially animal rights groups, have called for an end to the commercial trade in wildlife.
These activists oppose the marketing of biological products and the reason for storing and transporting biological products in an inhumane manner, and believe that unsanitary conditions are conducive to disease. According to CITES, this is not easy. Obtaining harmless results is not a one-time thing. The population must be monitored regularly. Many countries do not have the resources to do this, and sometimes this research is not highly valued.