Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Campaign Launched to Fight Wildlife Crimes

Black rhinos

It has been announced that wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have recently launched a collaborative global campaign calling on governments around the world to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, and diminish the demand for illicit products of endangered species. The campaign was launched by these two major organizations in response to record levels in poaching of Africa's elephants and rhinos. The demand for these animals' ivory and horns, along with tiger parts, from Asian consumer markets has been increasing in recent years. A TRAFFIC report on the rhino poaching, which released earlier this month, noted how rhino numbers killed illegally in South Africa rose from 13 animals in 2007 to 448 in 2011. The animals' horns were smuggled to contribute Asian consumer markets, particularly Vietnam. In 2012, 339 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, with the total for the year is more than 500 animals at current rates. In June, a report by TRAFFIC and other organizations including CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) disclosed that 2011 was the worst year on record for large scale seizures of ivory. China and Thailand were recognized as the largest consumer markets for illegally smuggled ivory. In that same report, analyzing data from the CITES MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) system estimated that tens of thousands of elephants are believed to be killed each year for their tusks, the majority in Central Africa. In 2010, another report by TRAFFIC disclosed that parts of at least 1,069 tigers had been seized in tiger range countries over the past ten years. Last week, the skins of eight tigers were seized in Russia.

I very much hope that various international governments will join this campaign as part of the effort to put a stop to this ongoing crisis. The battle against poaching and the illegal wildlife trade is a never-ending one, much like the illegal drug trade, human trafficking, and various other types of crimes that have plagued our world for generations. I firmly believe it is an absolute must that governments around the world should join forces with TRAFFIC, WWF, and various major organizations committed to saving wildlife worldwide. These recent years have spelled major trouble for elephants and rhinos in Africa, and the crisis is still continuing even as we speak. In Central Africa, the elephant populations have been suffering miserably in the murderous and remorseless hands of poachers and their deaths continue to make headlines. South Africa has also been dealt with a fatal blow, as hundreds of rhinos continue to perish in the hands of sophisticated poaching syndicates. In addition to that, various other species of animals in different parts of the world are under severe threat as a result of wildlife crimes. Recently, over 46,000 illegally smuggled animals were seized in Colombia. These organized crime syndicates specializing in the illegal killing and trading of wildlife are just as powerful as their shadowy counterparts that capitalize in crimes that claim human lives. One of the major factors that has helped wildlife crime syndicates to rise to power is technology. That is, various consumer websites like eBay have become major hubs for the illegal wildlife trade where consumer can find animal products in order to purchase. This is why it is crucial that the world needs to stand up to this never-ending crisis, in order to help save and conserve the world's wildlife.

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