World (SciDev) – Poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation are threatening more than quarter of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, according to a report by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) — and the consequences are not just environmental. The report…
WWF and TRAFFIC welcomed today’s historic announcement that China will close down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, signalling an end to the world’s primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.
The General Office of the State Council of China announced that China will “cease part of ivory processing and sales by 31 March 2017 and cease all ivory processing and sales by 31 December 2017”.
With massive infrastructure plans threatening all tiger landscapes and risking recent gains in tiger conservation, Asian governments must adopt a sustainable approach to infrastructure planning and construction or drive tigers toward extinction, according to a new analysis by WWF.
Released at the halfway point of an ambitious global effort to double the number of wild tigers between 2010 and 2022, The Road Ahead: Protecting Tigers from Asia’s Infrastructure Development Boom highlights the unprecedented threat posed by a vast network of planned infrastructure across the continent.
While inspecting the country’s seized ivory stockpile this week, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli ordered law enforcement officials to crack down on elephant poaching and trafficking syndicates.
“We are not going to allow our natural resources to be depleted,” Magufuli said, while offering federal security agencies his full support and urging them to “arrest all those involved in this illicit trade.”
The global fight against the illegal ivory trade received a major boost in South Africa today when CITES countries voted against proposals from Namibia and Zimbabwe to open legal ivory trade from their countries.
The vote comes a day after countries from around the world called for a closure of domestic ivory markets and backed the CITES-led National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process.
“The decision to maintain the existing ban on international ivory trade was the right one for elephants,” said Ginette Hemley, WWF Head of Delegation to CITES CoP17.
Over the past year, stories about animal welfare have gone viral via social media. In particular, the issues of holding animals in captivity, big game hunting and wildlife poaching have drawn significant criticism. A gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed at a Cincinnati zoo in June 2016 after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, prompting public debate over whether gorillas should be kept in zoos at all. In the summer of 2015, a beloved lion named Cecil was killed after a party of game hunters lured him away from the animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe where he had been living. Cecil’s death caused such outrage that the American dentist who shot him received death threats.
In February 2014, Prince William made animal welfare a cornerstone of his philanthropic goals. The Prince thrust anti-poaching policy into an international spotlight when he helped launch United for Wildlife, an organization dedicated to stopping the illegal trafficking of wildlife. As part of his efforts, he has held meetings with world leaders, including President Obama, and gave a major speech at the World Bank about the importance of a global commitment to stop the illegal trade.
Over the past 40 years, World Environment Day has inspired millions to take action to help protect our planet. This year, together with our partners, WWF is urging everyone to join the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
Poaching and illegal trade represent grave threats to the world’s wildlife and wild places. Increasingly driven by international organized crime, they also constitute a major danger to communities that depend on wildlife and natural resources for lives and livelihoods.
The situation is critical. A record number of rhinos were poached in Africa last year, while around a million pangolins have been trafficked over the last decade. Of the 110,000 elephants that roamed the savannahs, wetlands and forests of the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania less than half a century ago, a mere 15,000 remain today. If this historic trend continues, WWF estimates that the entire elephant population of one of Africa’s oldest reserves could disappear within six years.
More than a dozen tigers killed in a year – that’s grave news for a country which was hailed for its record third “zero poaching year” for rhinos.
Most of them were poached in and around the Bardia National Park, reported the daily Annapurna Post. Not long ago, the country was celebrating the fact that not a single tiger was killed during the one-year period between February 2013 and February 2014.
Since the poachers take the animal carcass with them, cases of poaching are difficult to track. The whole body of a tiger – from toe nails, skin and bones to the meat – is put up for sale on the international market by the poachers. Only when the petty traders are caught with tiger skins and bones in their possession do the authorities learn that the animals were killed by the gangs behind the illegal trade.
Last year, police caught poachers with tiger skins and bones at different places in the country. Thanks to the concern of authorities, a poacher who was on a run for years after killing Nepal’s first GPS (Global Positioning System)-collared tiger Namo Buddha was arrested. However, the frequent sighting of nomadic Banjara people in western Nepal is a reason for worry for conservationists and security agencies as they have in the past been involved in poaching and illegal trade of tiger parts.
Battling a global poaching crisis, wildlife rangers believe they lack the necessary equipment, training and support from their governments to protect themselves and the world’s threatened wildlife from poachers, according to a new WWF study released today at the World Ranger Congress in Colorado, USA.
Ranger Perceptions: Africa surveyed 570 rangers across 12 African countries and found that 82 per cent had faced a life-threatening situation while on duty. But 59 per cent felt they were insufficiently equipped and 42 per cent felt they lacked sufficient training to do their jobs safely and effectively.
These results echo the findings of a similar survey of Asia’s rangers, the majority of whom had also risked their lives in the line of duty and felt equally ill-equipped to perform their critical frontline tasks. Preliminary results from a third survey suggest that rangers in Latin America face similar challenges.