Wildlife inspectors check shipments at airports and at our borders with Mexico and Canada. They commonly find smuggled pets. But many animals still make it past their security. The people who sell the animals are willing to risk a fine or even some jail time because it is a big business. While the poacher may make pennies, smugglers typically sell wildlife at a much higher price.
Smugglers are sneaky. They put animals in false compartments in suitcases and cars. They put illegal birds into cages that also hold legal birds. Some will even try to mail reptiles.
These are criminals who do a great deal of damage. When a poacher catches and removes animals from the wild, the population of that species will drop. It can be harder for the remaining animals to find mates or to keep away predators.
So what is a pet lover to do? Stick with a common type of critter. It is better for the animals. And it is better for you.
Here are some Power Words for you to learn:
Poacher (po-cher): A person who hunts animals unlawfully
Smuggler : A person who carries things into or out of a country unlawfully.
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