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| Last Updated:: 04/06/2019

Wildlife officials begin collecting data on pet shops, aquariums





Concerned at the increase in incidence in trade of wildlife and exotic pets, with February’s incident of a leopard cub smuggled from Thailand being the most high-profile, officials have begun collecting information about pet shops in the city.




Of the nearly 50 pet shops, including those selling colourful fish from coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar and Andaman and Nicobar islands and aquariums selling ornamental fish, officials have collected data about 30-plus shops, most of them seilling finches, cocketiels and love birds and about a dozen aquariums.




Two of the shops were found to have a large variety of birds, reptiles and mammals. While their owners claimed they made a monthly income of just around ₹30,000 each, a wildlife department official told TOI that most exotic birds or reptiles or mammals like mormoset were sold at very high prices, sometimes for lakhs of rupees.




“In most wildlife trade cases, only the carrier is arrested by the enforcing agencies. We want to trace the trader involved in the crime, his links, whether the trade is confined to the country, if he/she has any international links and through which route the pets are smuggled into the country.



For this, we have to find out the number of shops selling pets,” the official said. The data collection exercise will go on for about 10 days. Experts say trade in wildlife is one of the most lucrative, with low investment. Data shows that world over the illegal trade is estimated to be worth a high $23 million annually. “Illegal wildlife trafficking is the 4th most lucrative crime globally,” the official said.




Source: Times of India, 04 June 2019, Chennai.