ANALYSIS: I wonder whether this car crash in Germany has exposed another example of live wildlife trading in breach of agreements between countries under international treaties. The trade in wildlife both dead and alive is an enormous business across the globe. It reflects the attitude of humankind towards nature and towards the iconic species such as lions. Wildlife is in freefall due to humankind’s activities and their general disregard for the planet’s welfare which is the same thing as saying their disregard for nature and wildlife.
Rather than conserve wildlife, humankind tends to exploit it because commercial aims are a far more powerful driver than conserving and protecting wild animals and the habitat in which they live.
That is the introduction and in this instance we have people from Slovakia who were driving through Germany near Heidelberg on the A5 highway with a seven-month-old white lion cub in a trailer together with a toucan. Their destination was Barcelona, Spain. It would appear (alleged) that someone had sold a young white lion to a zoo in Barcelona or perhaps to an individual. White lions are very popular with the public. They are fascinated with them but they should know that they are inbred and the white tiger is even more inbred.
The rare cub was found inside a box in the trailer after the van that they were driving collided with two other vehicles. The driver and the two passengers were all citizens of Slovakia. They were injured and taken to hospital.
The lion, thankfully, emerged from the crash uninjured and was taken to a zoo in the town of Landau. They fed the lion with milk and ground beef. They have called the cub Lea. It’s not clear whether they were acting illegally or otherwise. No doubt the police will research that point.
Animal advocates might be pleased to know that the toucan escaped the trailer and is flying around Germany as I dictate this. The toucan is a large bird with a huge beak. They are brightly coloured and there bills are often colourful. They come from southern Mexico, Central America and South America. They live in the lowland tropics. Why is this bird in Germany? I’m sure the toucan is protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). It is listed under Appendix II.