Environment: Adventures in the Skin Trade

Illicit traffic in wild animals and wildlife products is booming

In Singapore, government agents recently raided a farmhouse and seized 200 exotic birds, among them grand eclectus parrots, a Melanesian rarity in great demand by collectors. The entire collection of exotic specimens, worth $124,000, was being smuggled from Indonesia to Australia, the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., a "sting" set up by the Fish and Wildlife Service, an enforcement agency of the Department of the Interior, uncovered a huge, Atlanta-based black market in turtles, lizards, poisonous snakes and migratory birds. From the tiny...

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