Did you know that the black market for rare species is thriving, and that in some countries, threatened animals are bought and sold as “prized” pets?? They are poached from their natural habitats, caged, shipped, and illegally traded.
Driven by consumer giants like the United States and China, today’s annual wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar enterprise – much of it illegal. Poaching of threatened terrestrial and marine species is particularly acute in Southeast Asia, where human population has grown by more than 300 percent in the last 50 years and individual purchasing power is increasing at an unprecedented rate.
Unregulated hunting and trading in biodiversity-rich countries, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, now joins habitat loss and climate change as primary causes of species decline. At greatest risk are species that are slow to reproduce, such as elephants, sharks and TURTLES, animals with restricted ranges like many primates and TURTLES, and those that are of particularly high trade value, including rhinoceroses, Asian big cats and TURTLES.
Beyond extinctions and biodiversity loss, recent epidemics caused by wildlife-to-human contact – such as avian influenza (bird flu), Ebola Of hemorrhagic fever, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) – underscore the public health implications of unregulated trade.
Conservation International is partnering with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and local communities throughout East and Southeast Asia to address the factors allowing illegal trade of threatened species to continue. Together, they are training forest guards, educating law enforcement officials, raising public awareness, and finding viable ways for communities to meet their economic needs without resorting to illegal trading.
But is there something we can do, I heard you ask?
Of course there is! We can help safeguard threatened species and stop the illegal wildlife trade by supporting Conservation International. They work with local communities and governments to stamp out the thriving black market for souvenirs, exotic pets, and medicinal ingredients that is making poachers rich and driving threatened species like tigers, gibbons, sharks and TURTLES toward extinction.
But how do we do that?
Speaking from experience, the best, most direct and effective way to help any conservation-based organization is to offer monetary donations and researchers will then use the money where the need is greatest. You can donate to Conservation International here. Alternately, you can also equip yourself with more knowledge on certain conservation-related news and help spread the awareness to your family and friends, or through your blog or website. And you can do so by subscribing to Conservation International’s email newsletter, or by .
Remember, when the demand stops, the killing stops too.