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World Animal Protection calls for international ban on Ball python trade

Tuesday March 24 2020

Ball python are one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet and considered Africa’s most legally traded live animal.

 

IN SUMMARY

Wild animals, poached from their natural habitat or bred in captivity, are typically placed in cramped cages under dirty conditions, creating a lethal hotbed of disease.

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Dar es Salaam . Ball python are one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet and considered Africa’s most legally traded live animal.

The reptile is perceived to have no feelings or experience suffering, but it is the poster animal for the exotic pet trade. The false assumption is that the reptile requires little care and that is why they end up as exotic pets.

A new ground-breaking report by World Animal Protection is sounding the alarm over the international trade of this reptile, calling for a stop on the global wildlife trade, which is a ticking time bomb for infectious and deadly diseases.

Wild animals, poached from their natural habitat or bred in captivity, are typically placed in cramped cages under dirty conditions, creating a lethal hotbed of disease.

China banned the consumption of land-based wild animals due to COVID 19 and late last week Vietnam followed suit.

“While this is a great first step, other wild animals used for non-edible purposes, such as exotic pets and traditional medicine are so far not included,” reads the report.

The report however calls upon the permanent ban on all wildlife trade is the only long-term solution which will help to prevent major health epidemics from happening again and eventually save the African Wildlife.

Edith Kabesiime, Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection – Africa, says that the recent coronavirus outbreak, they have realized that the economic and human costs of outbreaks due to the demand for exotic animals is a price not worth paying.

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“The international trade of African Ball pythons is an important source of economic income for some local communities, but when the snakes are all gone, the money will be too,” she said.

She adds: “The trade of Ball pythons as exotic pets is a massive global market that has impacted and depleted millions of animals in Africa over the last several decades. These animals suffer cruelly from capture, throughout to a life of captivity.

Over  99 per cent  of all Ball python global imports originate from just three West African countries: Togo, Benin and Ghana.

Ball python “ranching” in West Africa is dependent on wild capture (which involves them being physically dug out from burrows, stuffed into sacks often filled with other snakes) that can result in distress, injury, death and disease.

Ball pythons have complex and specific requirements to meet even their most basic needs in captivity – including the ability to extend to the full length of their bodies. The only place where these behavioural and biological needs can be fully met is in the wild.

  In captivity, Ball pythons are kept in spaces vastly smaller than their natural habitats allow, and they typically don’t have the proper access to water, shelter or enrichment, even if owners have their best intentions to care for them properly.

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