The EU has a reputation for legislating to protect nature, whereas the UK drags its heels. Without us, perhaps animals and their habitats might get a better deal

Nothing oozes status like a man with an endangered alligator lizard draped over his shoulder that he has bought illegally through a German reptile trade show. These are people not content with a pet bearded dragon or a pet corn snake. They want more. They want something no one else has, even if having it contributes to the extinction of these unusual lizards in the wild.

Thank goodness, then, that the Guardian exposed this illegal market last year, and that the EU committed on Thursday to tightening the loopholes in the illegal trade of reptiles such as these beautiful endangered lizards. I’d like to say that Britain was a key part of this story, but our record on tackling wildlife crime isn’t brilliant. Although we talk the talk (remember this?) in three out of the past four years the government has attempted to close our National Wildlife Crime Unit, an important department for monitoring such things as illegal pet trade activity. Thankfully the EU forced us forward – on this issue at least.

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Source: Guardian Environment