I am Ernie Cooper, owner of E. Cooper Environmental Consulting, Adjunct Professor for the School of Criminology at SFU and an expert on the international trade in wildlife. Ask me anything!
Large numbers of live tarantulas are traded internationally to meet the demand created by the thriving tarantula pet hobby. Much of this trade is legal and sustainable, supporting the livelihoods of breeders and promoting appreciation of these many interesting species. However, illegal trade in wild-caught tarantulas is also common, and poses a significant threat to the long-term survival of some species in the wild.
I coauthored the CEC Action Plan for North American tarantulas and the CEC guide to the identification of CITES-listed tarantulas. I also facilitated the 2018 CEC Tarantula Trinational Trade and Enforcement Workshop and have been reviewing and analysing data on international trade in tarantulas. I have been working on international wildlife trade and conservation topics for more than 30 years.