Trafficking wild animals to China endangers Latin America’s endemic species

With over 30% of the world's species and three of the top five countries (Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico) with the most bird, amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish, and plant life, Latin America is a biodiversity powerhouse.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - China has become the largest importer and main market for endangered species, said Rodrigo Medellín Legorreta, researcher at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

The "illegal trade in wild animals and plants is the fourth largest illegal activity in the world," after human, weapons and drug trafficking, he said.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), close to 7,000 animals and plants have been illegally traded worldwide. Among the most trafficked species are jaguars, gray wolves, turtles, axolotls, pangolins, birds, tigers and bears.

"Poaching to supply the . . .

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