As an absurd, destructive, inhuman and criminal “taste” has become the desire to possess in captivity specimens of protected species, whose obtaining becomes the trigger for incursions by people and gangs dedicated to hunting birds, reptiles and mammals. many of them in danger of extinction, in order to sell them to collectors who lock them up with no other objective than their personal whim.
It is described as absurd, because it is impossible to say that nature or biodiversity is valued or admired when in fact it contributes to its deterioration. Often, the captured specimens leave their young, which perish from starvation; if the trapped are puppies or chicks, their chances of subsistence are limited, since the conditions of transfer are deadly.
It is a destructive hobby, because trees are often felled to access nests, fires are started to trap specimens with nets and an ecological cycle is broken that in many cases is unrecoverable and that often occurs in protected areas. And all for what? To obtain a few banknotes marked by a sentence of environmental degradation for the next generations, including the poachers’ own families, who tend to think of themselves as very clever and resourceful, but in reality they are common criminals.
The trafficking of species is an inhumane action, because it requires absolute cruelty and distortion of values to place defenseless beings tied up for days, without food, without ventilation, hidden in tubes, boxes, secret truck compartments or even next to engines of vehicles, in order to evade the authorities, if there are any in the area of action. Any complicity or collusion is equally deplorable.
Last but not least, it is a criminal activity, which is to be justified by pointing out that it is a form of economic survival, but that would be like excusing an assailant or an extortionist who claims to commit crimes because they are of scarce resources. In fact, the illicit proceeds of this transfer often attract criminal gangs that obviously do not value the natural heritage, that have weapons and a total lack of scruples to even reap human lives that oppose their abuses.
Yesterday the businessman Pedro Viteri was assassinated in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, apparently for having faced a sheaf dedicated to the transfer of parrots, a protected species whose trade is prohibited and whose prices can reach exorbitant prices. Those who acquire this or other species are not exempt from guilt nor can they claim ignorance about the provenance of their “pets”. In any case, they do not know if said specimen was captured at the cost of the survival of its young or, worse still, if it is stained with blood. Last week the rescue of a quetzal in Mazatenango transcended. He had serious injuries that led to the conclusion that he was in captivity or that his capture was attempted. The bird, a national symbol, died: a sad metaphor for the tragedy brought about by illegality.