Trafficking of Wild Animals in Brazil
Wild animals traffic is one of the most lucrative criminal activities in the world. It begins with people’s desire of owning wild animals. This demand arouses the traffickers’ interest.
In Brazil, ambiental crime laws are weak, with extremely mild punishments, which is to say, it’s as if the law didn’t exist: if a person is caught trafficking a Spix’s Macaw, for example, he just signs an attendance term and is released. For this reason, this kind of crime is the most convenient for the criminal, in terms of risk-benefit ratio.
São Paulo, the country’s richest State, is also the great receiver of wild animals trafficked from various regions of Brazil. More than 25,000 wild animals coming from traffic are apprehended every year by the police and by the rest of the competent organs in the State of São Paulo.
Today the State has the possibility of apprehend many more animals, but it doesn’t, because it doesn’t know what to do with them. Wild animals’ triage centres are crammed and in precarious conditions. There are no means of executing the re-introduction of the apprehended animals in the right way. Some of the people involved even propose euthanasia as a solution.
Institutions of the third sector try to minimize the problem but their efforts are almost in vane. Given the situation, over the years Brazilian director Humberto Bassanelli has been seeking opinions from specialists and public officials to find an answer to an gnawing question: “Now what?”