The struggle against animal trafficking is becoming better organized thanks to a a new effort spearheaded by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and Involving both los Angeles Airport (LAX) and the Los Angeles Zoo. The airport is the site of much attempted smuggling.
According to Patabook.com the new system will replace an older patchwork model with a coordinator dedicated to matching rescued animals with an appropriate new home. The old system relied on a system of informal contacts, not a specific organization. Los Angeles Zoo has been the recipient of many smuggled animals and is helping start the new program.
According to the website:
“In 2022, Fish and Wildlife special agents and the service’s law enforcement partners investigated more than 10,000 wildlife trafficking cases and collected more than $11 million in criminal penalties.”
Los Angeles Airport (LAX) has thwarted dozens of attempts and many of the animals live ou their lives at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Animal trafficking is a big business. Some experts put it in a triad with drugs and gun running. In fact, the three sometimes go together. Drug lord Pablo Escobar, for example, trafficked in weapons and also in animals. He brought hippos from Africa to Colombia, They thrived and are causing ecological damage to the countries rivers. The number has grown to about 400 and some may have to be killed to reduce the increase and limit the damage. They are also dangerous and kill as many as 500 people in a year
The illegal pet trade is also rampant. Many animals are captured for exotic pets. That trade is said to be driving cheetahs closer to extinction in the wild. India has aunched Proect Cheetah to try and reintroduce the cats to that nation.