Crossing the Red Line – Japan’s Exotic Pet Trade

Stephen Wiggins Article, Studies 2 Comments

Crossing the Red Line – Japan’s Exotic Pet Trade,” TRAFFIC, June 2020

“Japan has historically been identified as one of the biggest consumer countries of exotic pets, where hundreds of threatened species are in demand, including slow lorises, owls and pythons privately kept by individuals. Demand in Japan has been a persistent driving force within the global context of the exotic pet trade, with illegal activity illuminated by seizures and suspected laundering of various reptiles or otters described in recent studies”


Alarming numbers of threatened species are being smuggled into Japan and “laundered” into the exotic pet trade, a new study has found.

The country’s weak legislation and porous borders are not only a boon for traffickers but the flow of species poses a risk of zoonotic diseases that can “jump” from animals to humans, as the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted with devastating effect.

Exotic pet markets also threaten the survival of many wild species and can disrupt native biodiversity by introducing foreign, invasive species” – “Threatened species are ‘laundered’ in Japan’s exotic pet trade, study finds,” The Independent, 17 June 2020

Further Reading

Zoonotic Diseases of Mass Destruction (Part II) – Who is regulating who?,” IWB, 22 April 2020


Comments 2

    1. Post
      Stephen Wiggins

      Kate, Agreed – but with such trade often facilitated by corruption and complicit parties. If nothing else, COVID-19 is a wake-up call that the trade in wildlife (‘legal’ and illegal) is a global human health risk – taking wild animals from their natural habitat, captive breeding and the unnatural mixing of species in proximity in unsanitary conditions provides the perfect environment for the next zoonotic pandemic to emerge and envelop the globe. If the current pandemic does not stir urgent review, enforcement etc. on the wildlife trade in all its forms, then what will?

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