Wildlife Trafficking from Latin America - Lake Harding Association

Wildlife Trafficking from Latin America

By Micah Moen 0 Comment March 23, 2020

So Latin America is the most biodiverse region in the world and we need to find new strategies to be able to address the issues and also give them more support to fight wildlife trafficking. So with a domestic market value of 2 billion dollars the U.S. is one of the largest, most important players in illegal wildlife trafficking around the world. However, with the information that we have we only really know a fraction of what’s actually going on. Not all shipments are actually being seized. The thing is, what we really know is that fraction of shipments that are seized, but there’s much more that can be going on that we don’t really know. To better understand wildlife trafficking from Latin America to the U.S. we analyzed 10 years of LEMIS database from Latin America to the U.S.. It was specific enough for us so we looked at 43 ports of entry into the U.S. and just seizure data coming from Latin America and not other parts of the world. So through a report we have three major findings: the first one being species unpredictability. We look at the trends over time for individual species and we realize that there’s not a specific target for one individual species over the 10 years so it’s very difficult for port authorities to know what the species are gonna be
coming in every year. Second of all we found out there’s two
main ports of entry that are targeted by illegal wildlife traffickers more than the rest: this El Paso in Texas and Miami in Florida. These ports account for over
50% of all wildlife seizures every year, which means that they’re a specific target
for wildlife traffickers. Finally, our third finding is that Mexico is a key player in wildlife trafficking and Latin America, however not all of the seizures
in Mexico actually originate there. 24% of all wildlife seizures seized from
Mexico originate in other countries – this includes condor feathers from Peru
stopping in Mexico before being seized in the U.S. ivory from Africa stopping in Mexico then being seized in the U.S.. So Mexico has become a hub for
international wildlife trafficking. So we need to have a better
understanding of the trends and patterns of illegal wildlife trade coming from Latin America to the United States and we also need to invest in new strategies to really safeguard biodiversity in the Americas. The U.S. needs to be held responsible for its part in this problem. All things accounted for – we are the ones who are demanding those products that are coming
from Latin America so as long as the demand is there we are the ones who have the say in this issue. So, in order to solve this problem we need to educate people about the effects of illegal wildlife trafficking and biodiversity in Latin America. We need to decrease our demand we need to collaborate with countries in Latin America and we need to foster a better environment for the protection of our species.

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