Mexico City.- A new report suggests that the trafficking of wild and endangered species is common in Mexico and occurs mainly online, where traffickers contact potential customers through social networks such as Facebook.
The Center for Biological Diversity said in a report Wednesday that it had contacted people through Facebook groups in Mexico who sell protected species such as howler monkeys and toucans.
Researchers at the center received price quotes that included delivery, despite sellers acknowledging that they did not have legal documentation for the animals.
“Through Facebook Messenger, Pedro15, originally from Durango, offered a canoe-billed toucan for 12,000 pesos ($600), and a howler or howler monkey for 18,000 pesos (900 dollars), with a shipping cost of $1,000. pesos (50 dollars), extra for each animal”, reads the document.
The Mexican government considers howler monkeys an “endangered” species and prohibits their sale or capture.
Another vendor in Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City, offered to deliver orange-fronted parakeets for $500 each; they would be delivered in cardboard boxes packed in the trunk of a car.
“It is estimated that more than 78,000 parrots are illegally captured each year in Mexico and 77 percent of these die before reaching the final consumer, that is, around 60,000 parrots lose their lives,” the report stressed.
Another vendor offered a baby sloth, but, as the report notes, “unfortunately, 80 to 90 percent of sloths that are illegally trafficked die. Babies are taken from their mothers, often violently, and are then often malnourished, crammed into cages, and physically abused.”
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it has a policy to remove content and accounts that violate its ban on selling endangered animals, but its enforcement appears spotty.
“Our policies prohibit the sale of endangered animals and we remove content or accounts that violate our rules when we find them,” Meta said in a statement. “To enforce our rules, we partner with national organizations and rely on community reporting to help keep such illegal activity off our platforms.”
In Mexico, protected species of animals have been found that are exhibited in private residences, public markets, and tourist attractions.
The Mexican government seems to have little investigative capacity and relies mainly on reports posted on social media when people see the animals or when one escapes.