The wider impact of illegal wildlife trade

phys.org | 9/19/2018 | Staff
JimmyJoe (Posted by) Level 3
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Next month, world leaders will gather in London at the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade conference with the aim of stimulating the greater political commitment needed to stamp out wildlife crime.

For most people this will conjure up images of elephants and rhinos poached for their ivory and horn. Despite dominating the headlines, however, these are by no means the only species threatened by illegal and unsustainable trade.

Birds - Reptiles - Trade - Pets - Rosewoods

Birds and reptiles are fed into a thriving illegal trade for rare and unusual pets. Rosewoods and orchids are stripped from forests for home furnishings and private collections. Pangolins are being hoovered up in industrial quantities to satisfy the burgeoning demand for their meat and scales. And every year millions of marine creatures are removed from the ocean and distributed wholesale around the world as food, medicine, curios and sources of live entertainment in our ornamental aquaria.

The volume of pangolins lost to illegal wildlife trade is truly staggering. More than a million of these endearing and harmless scaly anteaters are estimated to have been taken from the wild since 2000. With populations of the four Asian species plummeting to critical levels, their African counterparts are coming under increasing pressure.

Plight - Macaws - African - Grey - Parrots

The plight of macaws and African grey parrots has been well publicised, but lesser-known parrots such as the yellow-naped amazon – which play a vital role as seed dispersers – are under increasing pressure. Thanks to its vocal talents, this endangered species is one of the most highly coveted in the Central American pet trade. An estimated 200 yellow-naped parrot chicks are taken illegally from their nests every year, and well over half of these die in transit.

International demand for caviar has led to overexploitation and a dramatic decline in sturgeon numbers worldwide. Increasing scarcity and rocketing value has attracted criminal networks leading sophisticated smuggling operations.

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