Exotic pets’ trade activity rises

BANGKOK (AP) – A wildlife monitoring group says research it has conducted since 2016 has found a sharp increase in the number of people belonging to Facebook groups in Thailand where endangered animals are bought and sold.

The monitoring network TRAFFIC said its researchers found 1,521 animals for sale online in 12 Facebook groups in Thailand in less than a month of monitoring in 2016. Follow-up research on the same 12 groups showed that at least nine were still active in July this year, with one becoming secret, and their overall membership had increased to 203,445 from 106,111.

Data and Research Officer for TRAFFIC in Thailand Maethinee Phassaraudomsak, said in an email on Monday that the monitoring “shows how easy it is to carry out this business and market wildlife publicly while staying anonymous and out of reach of authorities.”

A new report by the group shows screenshots of exotic animals advertised for sale on Facebook. In one example, an unidentified user posted a picture of a rare hornbill bird with a caption saying “a baby rhinoceros hornbill is available for purchase. Interested buyers, please contact by Facebook private message.”