Wildlife traffickers and drug smugglers have been using the same routes of transportation from Latin America to Spain, according to a police official who spoke to Spanish news agency EFE. Spain is one of the key entry points for endangered species into Europe, and in fact, this trade is often even more lucrative than trade in narcotics, La Prensa reports:
Some drug traffickers have actually turned to the business of smuggling exotic animals because it is lucrative and less dangerous than the narcotics trade, Spanish Civil Guard Wildlife Protection Service Capt. Salvador Ortega said.
Animal smugglers use "the same routes as the drug trade and some have traded their businesses for exotic species," Ortega said.
Some of the animals mentioned were parrots, amphibians and reptiles, which are often smuggled as eggs and then sold when they are hatched for a high price. Dogs from puppy mills were also mentioned as a commonly traded animal.
"Many of these animals die in pirate transport vehicles and are in bad health and younger than European regulations (three months and 21 days) allow," Ortega said.