Thousands of animals from endangered species gone up in smoke

21 Apr 2014

At least 15.000 exotic animals died in a fire of the Savannah Reptiles Planet warehouse in Saint-Sulpice-la-Pointe in the southwestern part of France. The animals were intended for the exotic pet market.

Sand boas, boa constrictors, royal pythons, panther chameleons, green iguanas, Hermann’s tortoises, Asian leaf turtles, leopard tortoises, African spurred tortoises, poison dart frogs are listed under CITES Appendix II (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Appendix II regulates international trade.

Thousands of other exotic animals perished in the fire along with hundreds of thousands of bred mice and insects, mainly crickets. Called “consumables” in the pet market jargon, they are used as feed for the captive animals to eat. Tarantulas could have also perished.

On the Savannah Reptiles Planet website (« in maintenance » since the fire happened during the night from Saturday to Sunday), the animals are considered simple « merchandise ». Prices are “chopped”. Deliveries can be exchanged. Sold over the Internet, the animals were sent off by postal packages or carriers.

The Savannah Reptiles Planet warehouse was not listed as an industrial site under regulation for the protection of the environment. No administrative regulations are laid down for this type of utility. Safety management and useful devices in the construction of warehouse were not taken for spotting the fire and hindering its spread. The animals were stacked on shelves in crowded and inflammable plastic boxes. Just as the ones that frequently destroy battery chicken farms, an electrical failure probably started the fire.

Exotic pet wholesalers and retailers contribute to the looting of the wild fauna in Asia, Africa and South America. Robin des Bois measures the extent of the exotic pet markets through editing “On the Trail”, the quarterly information and analysis bulletin on animal poaching and smuggling.

Following this huge lost of worldwide biodiversity, Robin des Bois urges the ministers of Environmental affairs and of Agriculture to strengthen the procedures for import, transit, selling, confining and shipping of wild fauna. According to first evaluations, the estimated cost of the disaster is 4 to 5 millions euros. For Robin des Bois, the loss is priceless.






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