A recent report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has uncovered some appalling statistics about the illegal wildlife trade on the Internet, revealing just how awful things have gotten with this illicit and lucrative industry. Nature World News reported how the illegal trade of endangered species, especially tigers, is growing, in part because of a demand spurred by tiger farming. However, while the illegal trade of tigers can be traced back to first-class societies in China and India alone, there is also an increasing number of international clients and sellers strictly online. The report, titled "Wanted- Dead or Alive", uncovered that a devastating 33,006 live animals were offered for purchase on 280 sites in sixteen countries over six weeks. Even more appalling was that almost a third of those animals were endangered or critically endangered according to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Furthermore, a total of 9,500 endangered animal adverts were discovered to be worth slightly $11 million in likely profit. In addition, the number of people sponsoring for live animals exceeded the number of offers to sell body parts of endangered animals. The IFAW found that live animal offers added up to a colossal 54 % of all the adverts. According to IFAW's Campaigns and Enforcement Manager Tania McCrea-Steele, the scale of illegal online wildlife trade indicates that the Internet presents a real threat to wildlife during a time when poaching levels are reaching extraordinary levels. She further added that many clients may be unconcerned that they are supporting an illicit industry.
The statistics shown by the IFAW indicate that the illegal wildlife trade is reaching unprecedented levels. Not only has it led to selling of endangered species, both live and dead, in shops, restaurants, and pharmacies but also on the Internet. Even more shocking is that a total of 33,006 live endangered animals are being offered for human consumption. In addition, majority of the world's human population may be unaware that it is supporting the illegal wildlife trade which deprives endangered species of their freedom and they are subjected to human consumption either in the form of food, medicine, or property. The global human population needs to wake up and realize that what it is doing wrongful when it comes to purchasing endangered species, both living and dead. By purchasing endangered species, people are supporting an industry run by hard-core criminals and the money they pay could be used for other criminal activities such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human trafficking, and even terrorism. This is why it is extremely essential that people around the world must be educated about the dangers of the illegal wildlife trade and what they can do to help stop it. NGOs, conservation groups, and other authorities alone cannot stop this ongoing threat from continuously ridding this planet of its endangered species; it is also up to regular people to join the fight in ending the illegal wildlife trade and poaching to save endangered species from being completely eradicated.
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