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World Wildlife Day

Posted by
03 Mar 2015

Today marks the second annual World Wildlife Day, as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. The simple message of this day is "it's time to get serious about wildlife crime”. The reason for this is that wildlife and forest crime has transformed into one of the largest transactional organised criminal activities, alongside drug trafficking, arms and human trafficking. However, it is much more common for these other crimes to get press coverage and attention.

Just by taking a look at different animals and species we can see how serious this issue is.

The population for forest elephants has declined by an estimated 62% between 2002 and 2011, with recent data from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing 100,000 elephants killed in the three year period of 2010 to 2012. The poaching rates have been unchanged since 2013 and far exceed the natural elephant population growth rates. These figures just highlight that a continued decline in elephant numbers is likely and, if nothing is done, they may even become extinct.

A new report by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which was released today, show that 1,215 rhinos were poached in 2014 in South Africa alone - this equates to one rhino killed every eight hours. South Africa has the largest remaining populations of rhino and with 94% of rhino poaching taking place here and it is a worrying statistic to consider.

According to GRASP (The Great Apes Survival Partnership) reports that over the last 14 months an estimated 220 chimpanzees, 106 orangutans, 33 bonobos and 15 gorillas have been lost from the wild. Illicit trafficking of live great apes is increasingly a serious threat, with GRASP reporting 1.3 seizures a week since 2014.

To mark the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, will host a special World Wildlife Day commerative session where member states and the global community will examine the challengers and opportunities to improve international efforts to combat wildlife crime at a global scale.

With animals being a love of mine, I find it a significant date in the diary. It is important to mark the event and do as much as we can to stop this organised crime  to improve wildlife rates for all animals.

What are your thoughts on the increase in wildlife crime? How would you improve the conditions of these animals? I'd love to here your thoughts in the comments below. 

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