Mexico Abandons Fight against Wildlife Sales

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The Mexican government has abandoned its fight against illegal animal trafficking, sources reported earlier this week, due to the lack of resources.

The trafficking of endangered species remains a crime in Mexico, but under the administration of leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the seizure of illegal wildlife sales has decreased by 70.46 percent over the last four years, compared to the same period of his predecessor, former President Enrique Peña Nieto.

According to specialists in animal rights and security, the fact that there are less seizures has to do with the lack of human and financial resources, as well as a shortage of infrastructure and adequate spaces to house the species that are seized.

More importantly, the illicit sale of these animals is big business for organized crime in Mexico, which control most of that business.

During the first four years of the current administration, the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) seized shipments of 555 vertebrate and invertebrate animals, while during the same period under Peña Nieto there were 1,879 seizures, meaning that under AMLO there was a decrease of 1,324 seizures.

Armando Rodríguez, an international expert in transnational organized crime and illegal animal sales, said that one of the reasons for the decrease in seizures is the lack of personnel specialized in environmental issues and administrative changes in customs.

Rodríguez said that those who acquire these animals are usually members of the Sinaloa Cartel, Jalisco New Generation Cartel and Gulf Cartel, all of whom have the capacity to connect with international networks.

Rodríguez also said that having these animals on the part of drug traffickers is a symbol of power, since the animals are generally difficult species to hunt, maintain and keep in a domestic space.

He said that big cats are among the favorite illegal pets of drug lords.

For traffickers, the sale of endangered species is a flourishing business that achieves a significant amount of international profits, almost competing with the trafficking of arms, drugs and people for sexual exploitation.

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