"It's time to get serious about wildlife crime"

3 Mar 2015

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Rhino. Photo@Ryan Harvey

Wildlife and forest crime has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities, according to the United Nations.
Beyond immediate environmental impacts, the illegal trade in natural resources is depriving developing economies of billions of dollars in lost revenues.
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day marked annually on 3 March, the UN is saying “it’s time to get serious about wildlife crime”.
Stephanie Coutrix reports.
Getting serious about wildlife crime means enrolling the support of all sections of society involved in the production and consumption of wildlife products, said the UN chief.
These are widely used for items such as medicines, furniture, cosmetics, clothing and accessories.
Ban Ki-moon added that illegal wildlife trade undermines the rule of law and threatens national security.
Combatting this crime is therefore not only essential for conservation efforts, it will also contribute to achieving peace in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by these illegal activities.
According to UN estimates, the population of forest elephants declined by around 62 per cent between 2002 and 2011.
Other reports indicate that 1,215 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone in 2014, which translates to one rhino killed every eight hours.
Many other animals such as apes, birds, and pangolins are also considered endangered species.
On World Wildlife Day, the UN is urging all consumers, suppliers and governments to treat crimes against wildlife as a threat to the world’s sustainable future.
Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.
Duration: 1’21″