#NoSoyMascota campaign against the trade in wild animals

The trade in live wild animals is a major threat to biodiversity and public health.

It is the fourth largest illegal trade in the world, affecting more than 135 animal species in Argentina, of which at least 20 are in danger of extinction.

Many of these animals are sold as pets and in many cases, people are unaware of the damage they cause to the animal itself and its habitat, as well as the potential danger of causing harm to themselves and their families.

To demonstrate this fact and raise awareness to combat one of the main causes of biodiversity loss - wildlife trade - the #NoSoyMascota campaign was launched, promoted by Fundación Temaiken, Jane Goodall Institute Argentina and WCS Argentina. Leader of the AZA Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the dangers of the diseases that these animals can transmit, since some people are unaware that their possession is illegal, damaging and degrading the ecosystem.

The wild animals most affected: birds, turtles and monkeys

For this reason, these agencies have joined forces to search, disseminate and educate through reports on the illegal trade of the three most affected groups of species: birds, turtles and monkeys.

This initiative aims, therefore, to reduce demand and warn potential buyers about the risks to animal and human health, as well as the special care that these animals require.

The problem of wildlife ownership                  

1- Loss of biodiversity

The wildlife trade is the second leading cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. According to the Environmental Monitoring Brigade of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the most sold species are turtles, Labrador parrots, toucans, flamingos and small birds.

"The number of cats and monkeys such as kai, black and yellow karaya being sold is also increasing. The massive elimination of these animals from the natural environment causes a serious imbalance in the entire ecosystem."said Laila López Guland, coordinator of the executive committee of the Jane Goodall Argentina Institute.

2- Risk of transmission of diseases from animals to humans

Wild animals removed from their natural habitats can transport and spread pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and fungi to new habitats, threatening human health.

The situation is worsened by severe dehydration and the overcrowded conditions in which the animals are transported.

It is estimated that 75% of the new diseases discovered in the last decade are of animal origin. The spread of diseases such as COVID-19 and chickenpox is exacerbated by the wildlife trade, habitat destruction and climate change.

Carina Righi, Anti-Wildlife Coordinator of WCS Argentina, explains: "If we keep animals in their natural habitat, we can end their ability to 'jump' and prevent translation in the future".

3- Alarming figures

It is estimated that of 10 wild animals captured, only 1 manages to survive.

Although there are specialized rescue centers supporting the central and provincial governments, the number of confiscated animals exceeds their capacity to provide them with the necessary facilities.

"Therefore, collaborating with people in education and awareness is very important. In this way everyone will be able to avoid risks to their health, the health of animals and the environment in which we live.”said Paula González Ciccia, director of education and nature conservation at Fundación Temaikén.

The suggestions of the #NoSoyMascota campaign

1- Seek information before making a decision: do not buy wild animals. When considering buying or adopting a pet, make sure you have information about its origin and legality.

2- Pay attention to what is shared on social networks: As a user, avoid accidentally promoting illegal or harmful activities.

3- Act proactively: report the illegal sale of wildlife and help other people understand that certain animals are not pets.

Despite the seriousness of the wildlife trafficking problem in Argentina, there are still many information gaps; Data on topics such as the most important sectors of production, transportation and marketing are insufficient and it is necessary to systematize them. There is also a need to strengthen national strategies to address this issue; train and command forces, inspect and supervise training; improve national and transnational coordination in the fight against wildlife trafficking; and propose improvements and new laws to protect the country's wildlife from this crime.

How are wild animals different from domestic animals?

The main difference between companion animals and wild animals is their relationship with humans. Animals live with us because they need our help to meet their basic needs.

On the other hand, wild animals live without human presence and must be kept in their natural habitat. They do not need human assistance in daily life.

Removing an individual of any species from the environment affects both communities and ecosystems.

Ecoportal.net

With information of: https://www.telam.com.ar/