4K animal, plant species targeted by traffickers worldwide: UN report : The Tribune India

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4K animal, plant species targeted by traffickers worldwide: UN report

4K animal, plant species targeted by traffickers worldwide: UN report


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14

More than 4,000 animal and plant species around the world are being targeted by wildlife traffickers, worsening the effects of climate change, a recent United Nations report said.

Exploited for drugs

  • The UN World Wildlife Crime Report, 2024, states that wildlife crime is driven by demand for medicine, pets, bushmeat, ornamental plants and trophies
  • Body parts or bones of animals, such as pangolins and big cats, are often dried and used in medicine, the report said

The third edition of the UN World Wildlife Crime Report, 2024, stated that wildlife crime is driven by demand for medicine, pets, bushmeat, ornamental plants and trophies. The UN report analysed global data and trends in wildlife trafficking from 2015 to 2021 and found that seizures of wild animals and plant species were recorded in 162 countries.

These involved 4,000 plant and animal species and 3,250 of those were protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a global treaty. The treaty regulates trade in animals and plants based on the level of threats they face. Elephants, crocodilian species, rhinoceros, snakes, rosewood, pangolins, tortoises and bivalve mollusk were the animal and plant species that figured most commonly in seizures made of wildlife and their body parts.

Body parts or bones of animals such as pangolins and big cats are often dried and used in medicine, the report said. According to the report, the proportion of wildlife crimes peaked in 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Wildlife seizures rose to 1.4-1.9 per cent of the global wildlife trade between 2020 and 2021, against 0.5-1.1 per cent seen between 2017 and 2019,” the report said. It said with increased monitoring, the trafficking of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn has shown a decline globally. However, there is no clear reduction in wildlife trafficking. “The good news is there’s a decline in ivory trade. We still have some large seizures, but overall triangulating data and the seizures point to a shrinking market for ivory. Efforts such as the closure of Chinese markets and clamping down of organised crime groups have helped,” said Angela Me, chief of the Research and Trend Analysis Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The report also highlighted that while wildlife trafficking significantly contributes to the extinction of many rare species, including orchids, succulents, reptiles, fish, birds, and mammals, it often escapes public attention. “For example, illegal collection for trade is believed to have led to the recent extinction of several succulent plant species in South Africa. It has also caused substantial depletion of rare orchids, with newly discovered species quickly targeted by poachers and buyers,” the report read.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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