SOUVENIR BUYERS BEWARE
WILDLIFE AT RISK
Traffic , the wildlife trade monitoring programme of the World Wide Fund for Nautre (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), has released a new travelers advisory on the purchase of wildlife parts and products in popular tourist destinations. Established in 1976, TRAFFIC works in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In many cases, wildlife and wildlife products can be legally offered for sale in popular tourist locations, but bringing these purchases home can often be illegal or require special permits.
Travellers to the Mediterranean resorts might be offered the chance to have a photo taken with a live chimpanzee in Spain. Baby chimps in circuses and tiger cubs sold by zoos can also turn up as tourist lures.
In Greece, coats made from spotted cat furs may be illegal. TRAFFIC advises travellers to steer clear of trinkets made from tortoise shell, ivory, some marine curios and other wildlife products.
Moscow and Leningrad have live animal markets illegally selling a multitude of native and exotic species. "It is vital to be careful when buying live animals abroad, even if they are not endangered species, and quarantine requirements must be followed," TRAFFIC advises.
In Turkey all sorts of stuffed native birds and live turtles, chameleons and other animals, native and exotic, are sold in local markets. In some markets, there is also trade in birds of prey captured or injured by hunters. Have the wildlife and products been collected legally? It's impossible to tell. Many marine curios are sold legally in Mediterranean Turkey, but the trade adversely effects many corals, sponges, shelled molluscs and fishes.
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