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Police say more help needed to combat illegal animal trafficking

Cancun, Q.R. — Last year, federal police confiscated 150 exotic birds and reptiles from trafficking, but say more help is needed from the general public.

The Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) reported that last year, state police recovered 150 birds and reptiles from illegal trafficking, the most common environmental crime they deal with.

PGR officer, Aline Bori Martínez who is an expert in environmental crimes, says that many people believe having an exotic pet makes them special or different, not understanding these animals require their natural habitat, not a human house in which to live.

She explained that once an animal is recovered, they work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources as well as the Federal Office of Environmental Protection (Profepa) to place the animal accordingly.

“We conduct a medical review, and depending on the condition of the animal, they are then taken to a special habitat,” she said.

Police have identified numerous tianguis (large outdoor markets) to be a common place to find illegal exotic animals, however, in order for them to remove the animals, they need help from the general public in locating them.

“One of the problems is that people will file a complaint, but they do not follow up due to fear of reprisals, despite having photographs or videos, and without that evidence police cannot act,” explained Bori Martínez.

Bori Martínez said that during the last year, the PGR has increased their efforts to combat the illegal trafficking, adding there are only two experts in the state qualified to deal with these types of environmental crimes.

The penalties for illegal trafficking range from three months to nine years in prison.

Earlier this month, two men were reported for using a Tucan for photograph opportunities along Playa del Carmen beaches. Last week, two exotic cats were located in a crate at the Tijuana Airport.