According to wildlife conservation groups, up to $1 Billion worth of illegally grown python skins are being imported into Europe each year. The black market trade in python skins helping to meet the demand for python skin handbags sold by Gucci and other luxury brands.
The legal market for python skins has grown from $137 Million (€100 Million) in 2005 to $1 Billion in 2014.
Although there are commercial farms growing python skins in Asia, industry officials believe that most of the skins being exported from Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia could have been collected from the black market.
Source: Sarah Butler, “Illegal python skins feed hunger for fashionable handbags and shoes,” Guardian, March 31, 2014.