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INDONESIA: Coronavirus — Millions of wild animals imported to UK from hot spots of emerging disease, risking new pandemics, study warns

A tokay gecko, one of many reptile species popular as pets in the UK
A tokay gecko, one of many reptile species popular as pets in the UK(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Millions of live wild animals are being legally imported into the UK from hot spots of emerging diseases, risking the spread of lethal viruses, researchers have discovered.

  • Creatures from bats and parrots to snakes, lizards and rats are brought into the country mostly to be sold as exotic pets, but with some sent to zoos, a study found

    Between 2014 and 2018, more than 3 million wild animals were flown or shipped in from 90 countries, many in regions considered “hot spots” for new diseases, such as Indonesia, El Salvador, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Singapore, Ghana and Madagascar.

    The study, which used figures from the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), found that 2,492,156 amphibians, 578,772 reptiles, 150,638 mammals and 99,111 birds were imported in the five years studied.

    — see the Independent for more