Reptiles vulnerable to unscrupulous pet trading: study

Under-regulated pet trade leaves thousands of species vulnerable
Reptile in trade. Credit: Alice Hughes

More than a third of reptile species are bought and sold online in often-unregulated international trade, researchers said Tuesday, warning of the impact on wild populations of a pet market that puts a bounty on rare and newly discovered animals.

Even endangered species and those with small habitats—such as the speckled cape tortoise and Seychelles tiger chameleon—are bought and sold in online forums, according to the new study by researchers in Thailand and China, who found that three-quarters of trade is in species not covered by international regulation.

The market primarily caters to buyers in Europe and North America—the British Federation for Herpetologists has reported that there are more pet reptiles than dogs in Britain.

But unlike most other pets, the study found that 90 percent of traded reptile species and half of traded individuals are captured from the wild.

“We did not expect

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