Trade

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Burgeoning human populations not only puts pressure on biodiversity through competition for space and limited resources but also through direct harvest for human consumption. In South Africa, animals and plants are commonly used as traditional medicine for both the healing of ailments and for symbolic purposes such as improving relationships and attaining good fortune.

Unfortunately the Sungazer is one of the targeted species to perform such activities. Sungazer’s are highly prized in the overseas pet trade and for use in traditional medicine in South Africa. These trades are not through legal avenues and are almost entirely fuelled by the illegal removal of animals from wild populations. Sungazer burrows are easy to locate, and since Sungazer’s live in colonies, it is a simple task to excavate and remove a large number of animals at a time for trade.

The Sungazer is amongst the top eight most sought after lizard species in the European pet trade, despite strict regulations on the export and trade of the species since the beginning of the 1980s, Sungazer’s are still readily available in European markets, where the majority of animals are sold without the required accompanying permits.

Although this crime alone does not have much effect but when combined with the other threats, it carries weight. If this activity continues in South Africa then the Sungazer’s are in big trouble. It is up to all of us to make sure that this illegal trading of this species is stopped.

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Burgeoning human populations not only puts pressure on biodiversity through competition for space and limited resources but also through direct harvest for human consumption. In South Africa, animals and plants are commonly used as traditional medicine for both the healing of ailments and for symbolic purposes such as improving relationships and attaining good fortune. Unfortunately[....]