For the first time, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNIDOC) has released an official report on wildlife crimes, aimed at stopping poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking. The World Wildlife Crime Report, revealed today at the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) by UNODOC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, notes that the countries of the UN have a shared responsibility to stop poaching and that this task does not fall into the lap of just a few countries or regions. Just as the entire world suffers with the loss of species to extinction, it’s up to the world to come together to protect wildlife.
Fedotov noted that with species like elephants and tigers “hanging by a thread” due to poaching, it’s high time for the world to start paying attention.
“All countries play a role as either source, transit or destination countries, and we share a responsibility to act,” said Fedotov. “The report found that nearly 7,000 different species have been accounted for in more than 164,000 seizures, affecting 120 countries.”
He also noted the difficulty in identifying illegal wildlife products:
“While some illegally traded forms of wildlife, such as ivory, feed primarily into illegal retail markets, other illegally acquired products such as reptile skins are mostly sold through legal outlets.”
As well as the holes in enforcement that wildlife traffickers take advantage of:
“As we have seen over and over with all forms of organized crime and trafficking, criminals exploit gaps in legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice systems.”
Both plants and animals are included in the report, which reveals how illicit dealers work to beat the system (and often succeed), and how addressing these gaps in oversight can help save species for future generations.
As Fedotov stresses, it will take a team effort for the world to save its endangered species. With luck, national leaders are paying attention.