Canada becomes leading exporter of Mexican tarantulas
Canada has overtaken Mexico to become the leading exporter of Mexican tarantulas.
According to BBC News, Mexican biodiversity expert Heiquio Benítez said that Canadian breeders were trading 14 species, while Mexican breeders were only exporting around five or six.
He added that growing demand for the arachnid had led Canadians to start breeding their own, instead of buying them from Mexico.
Mr Benetiz is reported to have made the comments at an international workshop on the trade and application of tarantulas, organised by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the Mexican Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity.
According to Mexico’s Biodiversity Commission, 14 out of the 24 species of Mexican tarantula live in Mexico. They are highly valued in the international pet trade, where an adult can fetch up to $8,000 pesos (around £300).
Every year, Mexican breeders legally produce between 11,000 and 14,000 tarantulas and individuals are exported to Canada and the United States. Recent demand from China, Japan and the European Union, however, has seen many breeders seize the opportunity to increase production.
To legally export Mexican tarantulas, breeders must obtain a permit or certificate issued by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The document confirms that the individuals come from a sustainable use and does not represent a risk to wild populations.
The Trinational Workshop on Trade and Application of Legislation on Tarantulas was attended by more than 40 experts among producers, importers, marketers, investors, civil society and authorities from Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The event examined a number of ways to promote the legal, sustainable and traceable trade of Mexican tarantulas as a strategy for their conservation.