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Wild animals

Animals affected

Mammals, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, Amphibians, Arthropods






Trading in wild animals, also known as trafficking in wild animals, encompasses both legal and illegal trade of individual species of wild animals, parts of their bodies and derivative products.

The trafficking of animals is the second most important cause of the loss of biodiversity in the world, after the destruction of habitat. It has a great impact on the population of species, many of which are currently on the brink of extinction. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES), which regulates and controls the legal trafficking of wild animals, was signed in 1975. It lists 3,000 to 3,500 animal species which are regulated and member countries must enforce these regulations.

Animals are traded in order to be used as companions, for entertainment (circuses, zoos, tourist attractions, etc.) and to be consumed. Animal parts (skin, fur, bones, tusks, etc.) are also used for medical purposes, clothing, cosmetics or decoration.

In this section, besides learning what trafficking in animals involves, we will also see the consequences of co-existence with these types of animals or the risk that this may bring to the native species of the area.

Our action

At European level

  • We belong to the coalition of European animal welfare organisations (ENDCAP).
  • We also make up part of the Coalition for the Barbary Macaque, which aims to improve protection and conservation of the species. Each year we help with the awareness campaign “Paso del Estrecho” (crossing the Straights) and we are currently working on a pilot project to strengthen the control on illegal trafficking with the aim to increase border seizures at the main ports between Spain and Morocco.

At the state level

  • We are involved in raising awareness and sharing information about the problems of wild animals in captivity.

In Catalonia

  • We are looking into cases of illegal trade of wild animals: online, in shops, by large companies, private sales, etc.
  • We are investigating illegal private ownership of wildlife, as well as legal ownership and the conditions of wellbeing of animals in different zoological centres holding wild and dangerous animals in Catalonia.  
  • We create protocols (of handling, seizure, etc.) as well as carrying out censuses and registries of all cases of abuse, abandonment or of animals that have been found.
  • We are participating in the completion of the ruling of the Law on the protection of animals, alongside the Department of the Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya and other wildlife welfare organisations: AnimaNaturalis, ANDA, APAEC, APAN, Born Free Foundation, International Animal Rescue, Stichting AAP, Fundación MONA, etc.  
  • We lobby politicians in order to restrict trade in wild animals and even to ban it.
  • We report cases of illegal ownership of wild animals, illegal trade or abuse.
  • We help to relocate and rescue wild animals that have been abandoned, found or seized.
  • We advise those who already have wild animals at home on a responsible tenure. That the animals are offered the maximum wellbeing possible or even to be relocated to a place where they will have a more dignified life.
  • We give speeches in schools to make children of all ages aware of the problems associated wild animals: trade, ownership, captivity and entertainment.
  • We put pressure on the authorities so that they fulfil their obligations: making them enforce the law, carry out inspections, impose punishments, create new laws, etc.


What can you do?

  • Report cases of abuse, trade and illegal breeding or illegal ownership of wild animals to the authorities.
  • Inform the welfare associations.
  • Let your family and friends know about the problems associated with the ownership of wild animals and trading in them.
  • Demand the creation of centres of recuperation of non-native wild animals
  • Never buy a wild animal.
  • If you want to own a wild animal and you want to help, adopt a wild animal that has been abandoned and which has been offered up for adoption by an animal welfare centre (such as La Madriguera, APAEC, EriSOS, etc.). Adoption should always be after you have learnt about the needs of that particular species and recognising the responsibility that goes with owning an animal.
  • Volunteer or collaborate with an animal protection association.

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