Kenya bans the export of snakes to zoo and pet shops to halt the trafficking of endangered species.
Kenya prohibits export of endangered snakes to both zoos and pet shops to stop the trafficking of these species, which has contributed to irregular sizes and breeding patterns.
The ban comes after reports of animal abuse and snakes being sold for their meat and skins on the black market. The trafficking of species such as the African rock python is also having a negative impact on the environment according to local authorities.
“We have conducted strong research and it shows that the ecology of the snakes has been negatively affected, especially the pythons,” says Dr Patrick Kinyatta Malonza, senior research scientist in charge of herpetology at the National Museums of Kenya, to The Guardian.
He adds that rock pythons used to produce about 33 young a decade ago but are now usually only producing half that number.
“Constant illegal smuggling has been the biggest single obstacle,” Malonza says. “It is even worse than habitat destruction. When you smuggle, you also interfere with breeding [and] their feeding patterns.”
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the government agency in charge of wildlife management, played an important role in imposing the ban that took effect this month.
The ban also involves the suspension of licenses issued for scientific research and venom extraction abroad.
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