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“Endangered species to declare?” Europe’s understudied bushmeat trade

20 / 03 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

[caption id="attachment_194202" align="alignnone" width="768"] A pangolin carcass confiscated by Swiss customs. Last year CITES placed a total ban on the trade of all pangolin species as they are in rapid decline in the wild due to their poaching to feed Asian markets. Pangolins are also being trafficked for consumption in Europe. Photo courtesy of the Tengwood Organization[/caption] Switzerland is home to CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. But that doesn’t mean it is immune from wildlife trafficking, or that some of its citizens haven’t developed a taste for bushmeat. “I’ve checked in on flights in Cameroon, which are going straight to Switzerland. I’ve been in line with people in front of me who have had big cool boxes in front of them, and they have checked them in without any problems,” says Karl Amman, who is credited with first exposing the bushmeat trade in the 90s and who continues studying the problem. An estimated 40 tons of bushmeat is flown into Geneva and Zurich airports every year, with a similar story likely unfolding in other European capitals, where poached, wild caught meat — including endangered species — is illegally being traded and served on urban dinner plates. The problem could be serious, and some trafficking could be well organized, but only a few surveys in a couple of countries have been done so far to determine what’s happening at European points of entry. While most of the wildlife trade occurring around the…

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