A new report says rising demand for luxury goods made of snakeskin threatens the survival of some species of python.
An estimated half a million python skins are exported from south east Asia annually, but researchers for the International Trade Centre say many are illegal, with quotas regularly ignored. In some locations, the methods used to kill the snakes are extremely cruel.
The report estimates that the trade is worth $US1 billion per year. A skin sold in a village in Indonesia for $US30 can end up as a bag in fashion boutiques in France or Italy selling for $US15,000.
Co-author Olivier Caillabet says part of the problem is that very few people in south east Asia have any sympathy for snakes.