CHADSTONE pet care specialist Pets Paradise has joined forces with the Humane Society International (HSI) to fight against the illegal export of Australia’s wildlife.

Last Thursday, the groups launched a donation program to help raise funds to increase public awareness of illegal wildlife trade issues and prevent native animal smuggling.

The program was set up with help from Environment Australia.

Pets Paradise in Chadstone, along with all Pets Paradise stores in Australia, will have donation tins and posters about the program.

Pets Paradise marketing manager Glenn Kernick strongly advocates caring for animals.

“Each time a customer makes a donation at one of our stores they will be helping eradicate this major threat to our native animals.”

HSI Director Verna Simpson said smuggling figures were startling.

More than 6000 seizures of wildlife products occurred at Australia’s borders last year, including live animals.

Animal trafficking was the world’s third-biggest cross-border crime last year, with estimated sales of $US20bn.

About 80% of smuggled birds die in transit after being drugged, taped, and stuffed into cylinders.

Many endangered animals, such as lizards, were on show at the launch.

Also displayed were confiscated wildlife items seized by Australian Customs, such as a whole lion skin.