Vast majority of reptiles are traded for their skins and body parts. This issue conceived as a concern being managed by wildlife trade regulations. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora), is responsible for the protection of wildlife globally.
Despite having regulations to overlook their trade and to prevent them from being exploited, 36% of all known reptile species are sold online and new studies reveal that CITES does not cover 75% of the reptiles traded online.
Trade takes place majorly supporting the fashion industry, which uses their skins to produce leather purses, belts, boots, watch straps, etc. which CITES mainly encounter as it is carried out commercially on a global scale.
What has not been documented and recorded much is the pet trade. It is not encountered as a highlighted issue as in starting it may seem that selling one or two reptiles cannot encounter much threat. But when these few numbers add up each year, especially of the reptiles habiting a particular place, can cause their status to be mentioned under threatened species, reaching the verge of extinction.
Captive breeding also stumbles across cruelty faced by reptiles where they are kept in extremely unhygienic conditions and being slaughtered in conscious state i.e. they are skinned alive.
Pet industry mainly flourishing in Europe and North America also doesn’t seem to be in a better state for reptiles. They are packed in boxes and transported for days without proper food and water, and without guarantee of better future conditions.
A new study reveals our limited understanding towards the serious concern as a loophole to properly address the issue, as we being social animal are responsible to create an impact. Like advertising the toxicity of harm that pet trade causes could help reduce demand. Regulations such as- demanding evidence of no harm being caused during the trade of species can regulate the concern. These kinds of regulations may also address the issue of lack of data for many species around the world.
It’s time to reframe wildlife protection norms to resolve the issue through all dimensions filling all loopholes being misused and to build a healthy relationship with wildlife altogether!
Written by Khushbu Mathur