May 30, 2023


pets keep it coming

Long hop from Nicaragua to US for frogs and spiders sold as ‘pets’

3 min read
Yesenia Talavera shows a Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas), at the Exotic Fauna zoo in Managua, on June 27, 2022, before packing it to be exported to the United States. — AFP pic

Yesenia Talavera exhibits a Crimson-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas), at the Exotic Fauna zoo in Managua, on June 27, 2022, ahead of packing it to be exported to the United States. — AFP pic

Monday, 11 Jul 2022 9:06 AM MYT

TICUANTEPE (Nicaragua), July 11 — With excellent treatment, Yesenia Talavera transfers a very small frog from a plant, the place it was sleeping, to a plastic container with respiratory holes, a moist sponge, and some room to bounce.

With far more than 2,600 other creatures ranging from tarantulas to boa constrictors, the diminutive, crimson-eyed amphibian is remaining primed for a extended journey from Nicaragua to the United States, where it will turn out to be someone’s pet.

Their forebears taken from the tropical forests of Central The united states, the frogs, snakes, spiders, lizards and turtles are becoming bred for export at Exotic Fauna, a corporation that calls alone a “zoo farm” in a suburb of the money Managua.

Licenced by the federal government, Exotic Fauna has been breeding 18 unique animal species for 15 a long time for export to the United States, Canada and Asia.

The critters are in superior need “by individuals who want to adopt a little something other than the regime puppies or cats,” Talavera, who operates the establishment with her spouse Eduardo Lacayo, told AFP.

Useful commodity

Talavera and a staff are operating challenging at planning the hottest purchase from a enterprise in Miami for 1,200 crimson-eyed tree frogs and glass frogs, 290 basilisk and pichete lizards, 800 spiders which includes tarantulas, and 350 boa constrictors.

They are deposited in containers with respiratory holes — the boas into cloth sacks — ahead of remaining packed in wooden crates marked “Live Animals” as an setting ministry inspector seems to be on.

The creatures are not sedated.

“These animals can endure journeys of 24 several hours and up to a few days” devoid of eating, explained Talavera.

The cargo will journey by truck to Managua’s intercontinental airport, from the place, just after passing via customs, they will depart the subsequent day on a commercial flight to Miami.

The atmosphere ministry encourages the breeding of unique species, internet hosting coaching classes and congresses to encourage additional Nicaraguans between a inhabitants of 6.5 million to enterprise into this valuable industry.

The federal government suggests just about 40,000 Nicaraguan households are currently involved in this sort of ventures in one particular of Latin America’s poorest nations around the world.

Exports continue being the area of a handful of personal businesses, having said that.

In 2019, formal figures demonstrate, the exportation of exotic animals brought in some US$300,000, although a new newspaper article believed the value at extra than double that.

Numerous in no way make it

Unique Fauna states on its website that “the utmost treatment is taken with breeding and handling” the animals, and its procedures had been “100 per cent” compliant with worldwide protocols on wildlife trade.

According to Eduardo Sacasa, president of Nicaragua’s nationwide zoo, as long as the animals are not taken from the wild and are bred at centres these as Exotic Fauna that recreate their all-natural environment, “it is not undesirable.” Extra Talavera’s husband, Lacayo: “We just take from nature after, only when, and we breed the product or service that we export.” But the NGO Folks for the Moral Remedy of Animals (PETA), which advocates for an close to the trade in exotic species, claims the exercise is cruel and lots of would-be “pets” never ever endure the journey to their new household.

“Those who do survive frequently endure in captivity and die prematurely from malnutrition, an unnatural and unpleasant setting, loneliness, and the overwhelming strain of confinement,” PETA states on its site.

Frogs for enjoyment

Lacayo explained they offered many frogs through the Covid-19 epidemic as persons in quarantine sought to be “entertained.” American shoppers, he included, were being significantly keen on tarantulas, which are venomous but not risky to individuals.

To tide them in excess of on the prolonged journey, the frogs are given an excess large supporting of crickets, which are also lifted on the farm.

The tarantulas are fed bugs and worms, but the boas are remaining empty-bellied.

In the situation of the snakes, described Exotic Fauna employee Harlintong Bonilla: “we give it meals two or a few times prior to, so that it has digested the food stuff nicely and does not throw up en route.” — AFP