Animals for export

February 12, 2010

by Sylvia Estrella, guest writer*

Arara azul, Blue macaw

Arara azul (Blue macaw)

According to the United Nations, animal traffic is the third main illicit activity practiced in the planet, after drugs and weapons traffic. It is a 20-billion-dollar a year business and one tenth of it is in Brazil. Practically all the wild animals trade in the country is illegal and approximately 30% of it is for export.

Birds of exuberant feathers, monkeys and turtles are among the main victims of this commerce. Generally, they are captured in the Northeast of Brazil and brought to the Southeast – mainly to the states of Rio and São Paulo. Then, they are smuggled to neighboring countries by road or waterways.  Finally, they are flown to their final consumers in the developed countries. Frequently, they are hidden in boxes without ventilation and food. In many cases, the tips of their wings are cut or their eyes are blinded, in order to avoid escapes. Thanks to these exhausting trips, around 90% of these animals die before reaching their destination. It is still very profitable: a blue macaw can be sold for 60,000 dollars in the international market.

In Brazil, a convicted animal smuggler may spend from six months to one year in jail  and pay a fine up to 5,500 reais (around 2,900 dollars).

*Sylvia Estrella is a Brazilian journalist and translator specialized in the Environment and also Aviation.

Onça (jaguar), the biggest Brazilian feline



  1. I say LET OUR ANIMALS WHERE THEY BELONG. Let them be home. Keep away, thieves!

  2. Thank you for this post.
    One of the many sad things regarding animals in Brasil is the unfortunate tradition of keeping birds in cages.
    No surprise that we are exporting it too.

    • Totally agree. I remember once in Nova Friburgo, in the state of Rio, seeing hundreds (and not dozens) of people walking around town with birds in cages. I think it was some sort of local pass-time. Extremely sad.

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