Published 1st January 2009
Unsustainable trade is seen as a major threat to the conservation of many species of reptiles. In response to this threat, the Government of Indonesia has set in place adequate legislation to regulate the trade, including promoting captive breeding of species that may not normally be removed from the wild as a conservation tool and an economic solution.
V. Nijman and C. R. Shepherd
Many reptiles are exported from Indonesia to the European Union (EU) under the auspices of paperwork claiming them to be captive-bred specimens. However, there are serious discrepancies between the numbers of reptiles exported to the EU that are declared as captive-bred, and the numbers of reptiles that purported breeding facilities in Indonesia are actually producing, or have the capacity to produce. These discrepancies suggest that unscrupulous reptile traders may be exporting wild-caught reptiles, along with the required paper work for captive-bred specimens, to the EU, under the guise of “captive-bred”. Based on a review of the available evidence, including site visits to all registered captive breeding facilities in Indonesia, for the majority of species and for the majority of companies, it does not appear that captive breeding of these species in commercial quantities actually occurs at these facilities. It appears that wild-caught individuals are misdeclared to circumvent Indonesian wildlife trade regulation and exported as captive-bred.
To discourage captive-breeding facilities from laundering wild-caught specimens as captive-bred in order to circumvent Indonesian wildlife export regulations, the Government of Indonesia should:
1) Establish a system of compliance monitoring to reduce levels of laundering wild-caught reptiles through captive-breeding facilities. Such systems should take into account the breeding biology and life history characteristics of species that are exported as captive-bred;
2) Undertake regular monitoring, including site visits, of captive breeding facilities and checking all stock against records;
3) Employ the services of reptile experts to assist in monitoring and inspections;
4) Ensure that companies found to be fraudulently exporting wild-caught specimens under the guise of captive-bred specimens should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and have their business licences suspended or revoked.
To ensure that fraudulently exported wild-caught reptile specimens from Indonesia are not imported, and to ensure that the trade in live reptiles from Indonesia for the pet trade is not occurring to the detriment of wild populations, the European Commission and Member States should:
1) Refuse imports of “captive-bred” reptiles from countries that do not have effective monitoring systems in place to ensure legitimate captive-breeding;
2) Member States should act in a co-ordinated manner in response to fraudulent export and CITES enforcement issues;
3) Ensure regular dialogue occurs between the EC and the Scientific and Management Authorities in Indonesia to share knowledge and intelligence on reptile breeding and illegal trade.
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