Fines and imprisonment for wildlife traffickers announced the Colombian government last week. Colombia is praised to have a great natural reserve of flora and fauna. Almost half of the Colombian territory belongs to the Amazon rain forest, plus important natural reserves like Darién jungle with Panama, the Pacific coasts and the maritime zone on the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean, being the only South American country with sovereignty in both oceans.
It makes Colombia specially vulnerable to wildlife traffickers who look for exotic species, most of them in danger of extinction, to be sold in black markets inside the national territory or to send abroad. However, simple citizens visiting natural regions become also odd predators when they bring what they wanted to be their pets at home in the cities.
The Minister of Environment, Juan Lozano, said that any person got by the authorities with wildlife, even a small parrot, can be fined and even send to prison for until five years. The road police and the authorities for the protection of the natural environment, will confiscate and fill reports about any individual or group involved in wildlife traffic or removing species from their natural habitat.
The announcement is made at the end of the Colombian time of vacations that last from December to January. In this particular time, many Colombians, especially from cities, go to other regions for visit or tourism. Returning, it is usual to bring exotic animals to the cities like parrots, monkeys and small felines. The Ministry underlined to the public opinion that it is strictly prohibited in Colombian to do so. However, the Ministry did not mention the situation of foreigners who do the same, although the control in the airports is quit good in this matter.
But wildlife in the cities is more problematic than having issues with authorities. The animals or plants, out from their habitats, can generate epidemics and damage the other habitats.