Target: Zhang Jianlong, Minister of China’s State Forestry Administration
Goal: End the illegal black market trade of python skins to save python species from extinction.
Chinese authorities recently recovered 68,000 python skins from smugglers in what the media is calling the largest python skin smuggling case ever. The confiscated skins are estimated to be worth $48 million, and the company behind the smuggling operation reportedly used fake customs declaration forms to import python skins and eggs. While Chinese authorities have arrested 16 people in connection with the incident and successfully confiscated the skins, the massive scale of this seizure demonstrates just how huge and out of hand the black market trade in python skins has grown.
Pythons are a non-venomous snake species that can be found across Asia, Australia, and Africa. They are frequently targeted for their skins, which are in high demand in Europe and the U.S as an upscale fashion statement for shoes and handbags. One species, the Indian python, is listed as “threatened with extinction” by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Despite regulations intended to limit international trade in python products, approximately 500,000 skins continue to be imported from Southeast Asia each year due to a lack of enforcement.
The black market trade has only been growing in recent years, and this recent smuggling case in China proves that something needs to be done. Pythons are at risk of being over-hunted to extinction, and as long as the trade of python skins continues, their survival will be threatened. Sign the petition below to urge China’s State Forestry Administration to make the enforcement of wildlife trade regulations a priority and demand an end to the illegal trade of python skin.
Dear Mr. Jianlong,
Sixty-eight thousand python skins were recently recovered from smugglers in China as part of what the media is calling the largest python skin smuggling case ever. The company behind the illegal operation allegedly used fake customs declaration forms to import python eggs and skins estimated to be worth $48 million. This massive smuggling case is only one instance of an ever-growing black market trade in python skins, and something needs to be done to prevent similar operations from succeeding.
Pythons are frequently targeted for their skins, which are in high demand for upscale fashion such as shoes and handbags. As a result, over-hunting is posing a serious threat to the non-venomous snake’s survival. One species, the Indian python, is listed as “threatened with extinction.” Yet despite regulations on the international trade of python products, approximately 500,000 skins are imported from Southeast Asia each year due to a lack of law enforcement.
I am urging you to make the enforcement of wildlife trade regulations a priority. Please take action to put an end to the illegal trade of python skin and make every effort to shut down the black market trade.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sunny Ripert