Paul Williams writes:
The red list has been mentioned here before with regard to the conservation of endangered species. If you read through the list, you’ll see hundreds of species battling extinction against the impossible odds of human development and hunting. In some cases, you may find a similar situation in the local pet shop.
Although the animals in pet shops don’t generally tend to be endangered, the species in the wild could well be on the brink of the “endangered” label. Pets such as lizards, parrots, and many other species find their way to pet shops all over the world so they can be bought for our entertainment. Although there is nothing directly wrong with this, indirectly, many species are being hunted at unsustainable levels.
The monitor lizard is one of many animals being caught for the pet trade at an unsustainable level. I was unaware that lizards were even pets, and subsequently had no idea they were in danger of over exploitation. The US holds the highest import rate.
The African Grey parrot is another species in danger. During the capture and transportation of these animals hundreds die. Legal transactions of these species, monitored by CITES record dozens of parrots that die for every one that makes it to the pet store. The high mortality rate of capture and transportation require that lots of animals be caught.
Although these animals are in abundant supply at the moment, they are facing a rapid decline and will soon be rare, endangered, or even extinct in the wild. I’m personally not inclined to go out and buy a parrot or lizard, but if I was, I would think twice before making a purchase, and would make sure I did sufficient research into where the animals came from. If they come from farms or ranches, where the animal is bred specifically to be a household companion, there is no issue. If the animal is caught wild however, by buying it you could be stoking the fire of extinction.