Wildlife trafficking is thought to be the third most valuable illicit commerce in the world, after drugs and weapons, worth an estimated $10 billion a year, according to the U.S. State Department. Birds are the most common contraband; the State Department estimates that two million to five million wild birds, from hummingbirds to parrots to harpy eagles, are traded illegally worldwide every year. Millions of turtles, crocodiles, snakes and other reptiles are also trafficked, as well as mammals and insects.
Since 1973, the buying and selling of wildlife across borders has been regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), whose purpose is to prevent such trade from threatening the survival of 5,000 animal and 28,000 plant species. CITES enforcement falls largely to individual countries, many of which impose additional regulations on wildlife trade. In the United States, the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992 outlawed the importation of most wild-caught birds. (Unless you’re at a flea market on the southern border, any parrot you see for sale in the United States was almost certainly bred in captivity.) In 2007, the European Union banned the importation of all wild birds; Ecuador and all but a few other South American countries ban the commercial harvesting and export of wild-caught parrots.
Please read the full article at Wildlife Trafficking from Smithsonian.com