South Africa: Unregulated International Trade in Reptiles Threatens South Africa’s Vulnerable Species

The majority of South Africa’s snakes that are exported are wild-sourced and, along with most indigenous lizards, are not CITES-listed, meaning they can be moved out of the country without having to declare the source as either wild or captive-bred.
This article was supplied by the Conservation Action Trust.
A new report, Plundered – South Africa’s cold-blooded international reptile trade, explores loopholes in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations and finds that an ineffective local permitting system is allowing the illegal international trade of South Africa’s reptiles.

While still awaiting the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DEFF’s) investigation into their previous report, Breaking Point, the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading (BAT) have released the third instalment of the investigative report series, The Extinction Business. EMS and BAT again appear to be fulfilling DEFF’s oversight function, exposing the unregulated export of 4,500 reptiles, snakes and amphibians between 2013 and May 2020 as exotic pets, food and leather.
CITES was set up to ensure wildlife trade is sustainable, but it focuses on the most valuable species, traded in large volumes, and largely ignores lesser-known species. According to a recent article in Nature Communications, the scientific data…

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