India has 73 tiger trade hubs, spread across
southern and central parts of the country, engaged in smuggling of tiger parts
to China, Indonesia and other south-east Asian nations, says
a report in the International Business Times.
Trafficking of tiger and leopard parts is a very
well-organised and high-paying one, with Indian poachers making around $1,500
(£925) for a tiger skin, the report mentions.
The illicit trafficking of live great apes is an
increasingly serious threat to chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos in Africa and
Orang-utans in Asia, with seizures averaging 1.3 per week since 2014. It is
estimated that a minimum of 220 chimpanzees, 106 orang-utans, 33 bonobos, and 15
gorillas have been lost from the wild over the last 14 months, according to the
Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
“Illegal wildlife trade is threatening the
survival of some of our most charismatic species, as well as some plants and
animals you may have never heard of. And it threatens people, their livelihoods,
their safety and security,”
remarked CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the Washington
based research and advisory organisation,
estimated the global value of the illicit trade
in all forms of wildlife, excluding fishing, at between $7.8 and $10 billion.
Declaring that “The situation is serious,” CITES
Secretary General urged the international community to tackle the poaching,
transport and consumption of illegally traded wildlife by using the same sorts
of enforcement tools, techniques and penalties used to combat other serious
crimes, such as drugs or human trafficking.
“In recent years, organized crime syndicates,
militias, and even terrorist elements have taken notice of the profits that can
be made in the illegal trafficking of wildlife, generating an alarming up-tick
in the scale of the industry and posing serious national security concerns for
the United States and our partners,” the GFI reported.
“The illicit trafficking of wildlife appears to be
one of the ways a number of Al Qaeda affiliates have chosen to raise money to
fund their operations,” said the GFI report that also revealed that “Several
militias, armed groups, and insurgent groups have reportedly profited from
illicitly poaching and trafficking wildlife in Africa and elsewhere.”
"Wildlife crime is a transnational organized crime
generating billions of dollars and undermining development. It is also an
inter-generational crime that can permanently scar the world through the loss of
some of our most beautiful creatures. To stop this, we must act now,"
said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director for the UN
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is launching
new initiatives to halt the illegal trade in wildlife in Asia and Africa. These
initiatives will tackle wildlife crime by focussing on law enforcement,
regulations, and engaging the private sector and strengthening collaboration
between governments within and across the two regions.
“Combatting this crime is not only essential for
conservation efforts and sustainable development; it will contribute to
achieving peace and security in troubled regions where conflicts are fuelled by
these illegal activities,” said the UN Secretary General
in a special message to mark this year’s World