Saturday, July 06, 2024

An Uphill Battle Against Wildlife Trafficking Continues


Wildlife trafficking, defined as the illegal trapping and/or poaching of wildlife for consumer trade, is second only to habitat loss as one of the largest modern threats to wildlife. The criminal practice overwhelmingly targets elephants, large reptiles and coral, and has resulted in the extinction of rare species of plants, reptiles and fish. High extinction risk is common among species targeted by wildlife crime; of the 4,000 species worldwide that are currently poached for trafficking, 40 percent are already listed as threatened or near-threatened.

The trade also harms people, as many foreign animals can spread dangerous diseases to previously unexposed people and livestock. Impoverished peoples in the poached animals’ countries of origin are especially harmed by the industry, as the profiting criminal organizations often blackmail people with limited financial options into doing dangerous work for them.

Despite the harm wildlife trafficking has caused to wildlife and people, the industry has continued to expand over the last century, and now has an estimated annual value of roughly $23 billion. Thanks to practices such as trophy hunting, hoarding and exotic tourism gaining momentum over the years, the demand for poached wildlife goods has only increased...more

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