The Illegal Pet Trade in Canada and Beyond: A Growing Issue of Wildlife Crime

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 10:30-11:15AM
TRACK: WILDLIFE WELFARE

SPEAKER: Carolyn Rosemary Farquhar, Chair, Cheetah Conservation Fund Canada

There’s a disturbing upward trend, in Canada and globally, of individuals purchasing exotic wildlife as pets – often with social media as an enabler. Global wildlife crime is estimated to be worth $20 billion, with the demand for exotic animals, birds and reptiles – many critically endangered – decimating populations in their native countries, giving rise to horrific cruelty during capture and transport and resulting in living situations that threaten their own safety, as well as that of people living alongside them.

Three Key Learnings:
1. The factors driving the illegal pet trade, and its short-term and longer-term consequences
2. The illegal pet trade in Canada: its magnitude and its impact
3. How can we, as Canadians, address this growing issue of wildlife crime, and what are the solutions?

SPEAKER BIO
There’s a disturbing trend, in Canada and around the world, of exotic wildlife being trafficked and sold as pets, to individuals for their personal entertainment or use in ‘’collections’’. The illegal pet trade, estimated at more than $20 billion, is just one part of global wildlife crime. The internet is an enabler, in both the speed and reach of the trafficking, and social media can encourage acquiring exotic animals as pets. The demand for exotic animals, birds and reptiles -- many critically endangered – is decimating populations in their native countries and giving rise to horrific cruelty in their capture and transport. Once these animals reach their final destination – if they survive - they are frequently in living situations that threaten their own safety, as well as that of people living alongside them.
The key learnings of the session:
- what is the illegal pet trade and what are the driving factors ?
- the illegal pet trade in Canada and elsewhere: what is the impact ?
- what can be done about the this wildlife crime and who needs to be involved in the solutions?

Carolyn Farquhar works closely with a big cat conservation NGO in Southern Africa, and has studied the illegal pet trade of cheetah, as well as that of other endangered species. Carolyn has a public policy and organizational effectiveness background. Over the last ten years, she has conducted research on wildlife conservation and international environmental law. Her interest in raising awareness of wildlife crime is based on a passion for preserving the world’s species and spaces.