A look at the illegal world of wildlife trade

Tigers are one of the most gorgeous, majestic, and regal creatures out in the wild. Unfortunately, there is a whole business dedicated to eradicate this species and many others like it.

Elephants, tigers and rhinoceroses are some of the animals that are mainly targeted by poachers and traffickers. Other animals such as pangolins and turtles are also low hanging fruit for traffickers. Some of the things being trafficked include ivory from elephant tusks, shark bone, tiger skin, and tortoise shells.

Africa has rightly titled this phenomenon as a ‘Wildlife War’.

Wildlife trade is the third biggest illegal trade in the world after narcotics and weapons. This is one of the most appalling truths of this day and age. Endangered animals’ survival is becoming tougher and tougher throughout the planet, because of this gruesome form of what has now been categorised as organised crime. Wildlife Crime is a fully functional network of traders, poachers, and traffickers, all of whom are walking freely today.

The World Wildlife Federation currently has 17 animals on its ‘Critically Endangered’ list, and 32 species on the ‘Endangered’ list. Species such as the North White Rhino only exists in single digits.

It is sad that even global efforts to curb illegal wildlife trade have had no tangible impact on the business. In fact, this illegal trade is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. No number of global meets, or international summits have been able to stop these traffickers and poachers from wiping off entire species of animals.

There are laws stated to protect endangered wildlife species, but it is clear that there needs to be a lot more invested in this initiative. Treaties such as the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, or the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1989 need to be taken a lot more seriously, and the laws protecting the wildlife needs to be executed to its full capacity.

It is important, however, to note that certain organisations have furthered the protection of endangered species more than others. Few of the most notable organisations are The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Oceana.

It is crucial to point out that positive steps are shown by the Endangered Species Act which has helped species like the Bald Eagle, Humpback Whale, and the Green Sea Turtle recover from the edge of extinction.

A lot of effort needs to be made to save species which are fast disappearing from the face of this Earth, and hopefully these steps will be taken in time, to keep the ecosystem intact.

Meghna Asangi, Correspondent (Our World)

Image Courtesy: Yvonne (bijoux & crafts) (https://www.flickr.com/photos/88551713@N00/506870675), Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic | Flickr