Rhinos, tigers, pangolins – we’re used to hearing about the mammals that are snatched from the wild so that their body parts can be sold. But did you know that you can buy and sell 36% of all known reptile species over the internet? That’s more than one in three species, including the endangered speckled tortoise (the world’s smallest species of tortoise) and the Seychelles tiger chameleon.
Reptiles are consistently overlooked by trade regulations. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is the world’s mechanism for protecting wildlife in global markets. This global agreement is supposed to regulate the trade of species to prevent them being overexploited, but a new study has revealed that more than 75% of reptiles traded online are species that are not covered by CITES. And as the online trade has grown, even reptiles protected by CITES are being taken from their natural habitats and sold to buyers around the world. MORE