The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 24 May 2016 launched its inaugural World Wildlife Crime Report. The report highlights how the poaching and illegal trade of thousands of different species across the globe present real environmental dangers.
The report also urges shared responsibility in tackling this crime given how products made from illicit flora and fauna such as fashion items, furniture, food, and pets, may be hidden in plain sight.
The report is a part of UNODC's ongoing Global Programme on Wildlife and Forest Crime.
The report was developed by UNODC with data provided by partner organizations under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).
Key highlights of the report
• Wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions, but is a truly global phenomenon.
• Nearly 7000 species have been seized, including not only mammals but reptiles, corals, birds, and fish. No single species is responsible for more than 6% of the seizure incidents.
• Illegal wildlife markets do not correspond neatly to biological categories. Some markets make use of multiple species, while some species feed multiple distinct markets.
• In some cases, it appears that a large share of the illegally acquired wildlife is ultimately sold in a legal market. By introducing illegal products into licit markets, traffickers have access to a much broader pool of potential buyers.
• Certain markets are vulnerable to the infiltration of illegally sourced or trafficked wildlife: (a) Where there is no international regulation; (b) At wild source; (c) Farm laundering; (d) Trafficking between two legal markets; (e) Under cover of fraudulent paperwork.
• The World Wildlife Crime Report sheds light on seven specific areas which best illustrate the scale of wildlife and forest crime. They are seafood; pets, zoos and breeding; food, medicine and tonics; art, décor and jewellery; cosmetics and perfume; fashion; and furniture.
• The report additionally highlights how gaps in legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice systems present serious issues.
• It does not provide a dollar amount estimate for the annual value of illicit wildlife trade.
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