Do You Know who is the Most Trafficked Wildlife Species Is?
Every day we are hearing news about child trafficking, drug trafficking, human, and gun trafficking, right? But did you hear about wild animal trafficking, many of us might unaware of this because of these critical issues we don’t think about the wild animals. But the fact is, this is the fourth largest organized crime in the world, after drug trafficking, and human trafficking.
Elephants are killing for their tusks, and sheep and other like are killing for their furs or horns in huge amounts and this is the most illegal activity in the world. Most of the species are illegally transported to other countries and this act is called wildlife trafficking. Previously we knew that tortoises, sharks, geckos (a type of lizard), sea urchins, tropical fish, and coral are just as commonly exploited by wildlife trafficking as tigers, rhinoceros, elephants, peacocks, snakes, and monkeys are also triggered for smuggling. But do you know what the most trafficked wildlife species is?
We might not know about this species, but it is Pangolin, (a scaly anteater) which is considered to currently be the most trafficked mammal on the planet. Pangolin species live in dense forest and eats ants for their survival. These types of creatures can be found across the Asia continents, and are hunted for both their meat and scales. And pangolins are the only species of the billions of animals that are hunted or trafficked every year.
Indian Pangolin or Anteater (Manis crassicaudata) is one of the most trafficked/smuggled wildlife species for its scales, meat, etc for medical purposes. You know the trafficking of endangered species to feed the illicit global trade of wildlife is estimated to be worth between 8 to 10 billion USD per year and is rising an alarming rate on the planet, even the illegal wildlife trade is approximately around 7-23 billion USD each year.
The Indian Pangolin populations are under very serious threat from wildlife trafficking. Wildlife products that are from killing an animal are in demand for their high use in food, pharmaceuticals, fashion, construction, medicines, traditions, and to décor the ornaments or jewelry. Even in some areas, wild animals are used for black magic activities even in present days.
The wild trafficking criminals transport and trade them across international borders and as a result the species are threatened economically, socially, and ecologically from the planet or all countries. Because the cost of wild animals and plants in the international market varies according to demand in the market, their value in their natural habitat is priceless. Each species plays a major important role in the well-being of the ecosystem and their loss for illegal trade has a tremendous effect on the host of ecosystem services which all humans directly benefit from.
Illegal wildlife trade affects not just the species that are being targeted, but also other species that live in the same habitat or those that are directly dependent on the target species. The traps laid out by smugglers to catch wild animals such as deer and wild pigs in the forests of India end up crippling, screaming, and killing tigers, leopards, and bears who roam the same territory. Many large carnivores like leopards suffer extremely and eventually die when they get caught in traps set for other animals.
The living rate for trafficked live animals is very high. After being caught from the forests, they are kept and transported in overcrowded areas, disease-prone and malnourished conditions. Those animals that survive these circumstances but cannot be returned to the forest by authorities are either killed or kept in a zoo or rehabilitation center for the remainder of their lives. To fulfill the demand of 100 individuals of an individual species of bird, poachers capture or kill 500-700 individuals of that species in the wild.
So, the question is what can we do to protect wildlife animals? Here are some ways that we can do to protect wildlife animals.
- Educate yourself- Read more about the threats posed by illegal trade on the survival of wildlife animals. Spread awareness about it amongst your friends, family, and society.
- Be vigilant and speak up if you report any suspicious activities involving wildlife to the nearest authorities, like the nearest police station, your state’s forest department, or the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.
- Be an internet watchdog- In recent times, an unthinkable amount of wildlife contraband and live animals are being illegally traded online. If you come across such advertisements or offers online, inform the cyber cell of the government, and they will get into the matter.
- Donate generously- Give your time, expertise, and money to the organizations that are helping to fight the battle against wildlife trafficking.
With billions of dollars being spent on the illegal wildlife trade every year, an important and combined effort is required to bring an end to the crimes that do so much damage to the world’s precious biodiversity.