In 2010, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department investigated 160 cases of illegal wildlife sales on the black market.
In 2013, the number of wildlife trafficking cases investigated by the department increased to 200.
Among the wildlife items seized by authorities included reticulated pythons, anacondas, sting rays and piranhas. Many of the buyers are looking for exotic pets, while others are simply looking to make a profit selling the animals.
Selling exotic wildlife in Texas is a misdemeanor, which means that a seller convicted of selling exotic animals rarely goes to jail. The typical fine for selling illegal animals in Texas is between $25 to $500.
The entire black market in wildlife trafficking is estimated to be worth $19 Billion.
Source: Andy Pierrotti, “Illegal wildlife trade increasing in Texas,” KVUE Austin, February 3, 2014.