“Narco Zoos” on the Rise in Ecuador

Law enforcement officers in Ecuador found a pair of jaguars and some exotic birds caged on the property of Wilder Sanchez Farfan, who is wanted in the United States for alleged drug trafficking. According to Ecuador’s Environmental Protection Unit, wildlife trafficking and drug trafficking are closely linked as exotic animals gain popularity as status symbols, leading to an increase in illegal “narco zoos.” From 2021 to 2022, police seized a total of more than 12,000 wild animals from private owners in Ecuador.