A new EU-wide approach is needed to help wildlife rescue services at breaking point
The action plan should in theory result in more successful prosecutions of illegal wildlife traders and more confiscations of illegally traded wildlife.
Dealing with the ‘parts and derivatives’ –fur, bone, scales, meat and so on - of wild animals that have been seized or confiscated is relatively straightforward for the authorities from a logistical point of view. When live animals are involved things get a lot more complicated.
The illegal trade in ‘live’ wildlife involves a huge number of species, all of which require specialist care. Following seizure, animals will likely be highly stressed and in poor health, so it is essential they are placed in appropriate housing quickly.
Difficulties housing animals
However, finding facilities with the expertise to care for these traumatised animals is difficult, and finding such facilities with available housing is even more of a challenge. In 2017, European Alliance of Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries (EARS) and Animal Advocacy and Protection (AAP) surveyed 112 rescue facilities in Europe and found that they had received requests to house 22,000 animals in that year alone. When asked what their main reason was for refusing animals, 41% of respondents cited lack of space, 16% a lack of appropriate facilities and 13% a lack of funds.