Wildlife trade: what is it?
Wild life trade is any sale or exchange of wild animal and plant resources by people. This can involve live animals and plants or a diverse range of products needed or prized by humans—including skins, medicinal ingredients, tourist curios, timber, fish and other food products. Most wildlife trade is probably within national borders, but there is a large volume of wildlife in trade internationally.
There are many reasons why wildlife is traded, including:
food—fruits, mushrooms, nuts, leaves and tubers, are particular important resources in sustaining livelihoods in many rural areas. Wild animals (including fish) contribute at least a fifth of the animal protein in rural diets in more than 60 countries. A TRAFFIC study demonstrated reliance on wild meat is growing in Eastern and Southern Africa in response to increased human populations and poverty.
fuel—trees and plants are an important source of fuel for cooking and heating, especially in rural areas
fodder—considered very important non-wood forest products in arid regions of Asia and Africa
building materials—for example, timber for furniture and housing to ingredients in manufacturing processes, such as gums and resins
clothing and ornaments—leather, furs, feathers, ivory etc
sport—from falconry to trophy hunting
healthcare— everything from herbal remedies, traditional medicines to ingredients for industrial pharmaceuticals. An estimated 80 % of the world’s population are said to rely for primary health care on traditional medicines
religion—many animals and plants or derivatives are used for religious purposes;
collections—many wildlife specimens and curios are collected by museums and private individuals
The primary motivating factor for wildlife traders is economic, ranging from small scale local income generation to major profit-oriented business, such as marine fisheries and logging companies.
Between collectors of wildlife and the ultimate users, any number of middlemen may be involved in the wildlife trade, including specialists involved in storage, handling, transport, manufacturing, industrial production, marketing, and the export and retail businesses.
In fact most of us are involved in wildlife trade in some way, even if it just as end consumers of wildlife products.
The wildlife trade involves hundreds of millions of individual plants and animals from tens of thousands of species and seafood are the most important categories of international wildlife trade, in terms of both volume and value. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than $100 billion of fish were traded and nearly $200 billion timber in 2009. To put this into perspective, in the same year, the global trade value of tea, coffee and spices all together was $24.3 billion.
It is estimated that 70 000 species of plant are used for medicinal purposes alone. Additionally, approximately 25% of ‘modern’ pharmacy medicines have been developed based on the medicinal properties of wild species. Little is known about the status of many of these species, although those that have been assessed show a concerning picture.
“Recently a citizen of China passed away at the age of 256 years, who has been using wild herbs as his food and was dealing in the same trade. He in turn had seen a person of the age of 500 years, who had taught him the use of herbs for remaining healthy besides achieving longevity.”
International trade in species of conservation concern is monitored by CITES. From 2005 – 2009, CITES recorded an annual average of more than 317,000 live birds, just over 2 million live reptiles, 2.5 million crocodilian skins, 1.5 million lizard skins, 2.1 million snake skins, 73 tonnes of caviar, 1.1 million coral pieces and nearly 20,000 hunting trophies.
Not all trade is legal of course: between 2005 and 2009 EU enforcement authorities made over 12,000 seizures of illegal wildlife products in the EU.
Value: In the early 1990s, TRAFFIC estimated the value of legal wildlife products imported globally was around USD160 billion. In 2009, the estimated value of global imports was over USD323 billion.
TRAFFIC estimated the legal trade of wildlife products into the EU alone was worth an estimated €93 billion in 2005 and this increased to nearly €100 billion in 2009.
By its very nature, it is almost impossible to obtain reliable figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade, but the figure must run into hundreds of millions of dollars. The value of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries alone has been estimated as between USD10-23 billion per year (MRAG & FERR, 2008), while the value of the illegal international timber trade has been estimated as USD7 billion per year, and the illegal wildlife trade, excluding timber and fisheries as USD7.8-10 billion per year (GFI, 2011).
As human populations have grown, so has the demand for wildlife. People in developed countries have become used to a lifestyle which fuels demand for wildlife; they expect to have access to a variety of seafoods, leather goods, timbers, medicinal ingredients, textiles etc. Conversely, extreme poverty of others means they regard wildlife as a means to meet their short-term needs and will trade it for whatever they can get.
Over-exploitation is a major concern:
Wildlife is vital to a high proportion of the world’s population. People depend directly on wildlife for consumption and as a way of earning cash. However, irresponsible wildlife trade is threatening this resource, and those most affected tend to be the poorest people, in developing nations.
Illegal wildlife trade causes additional problems. The species traded are often already highly threatened and in danger of extinction, conditions under which wildlife is transport are often appalling, operators are unscrupulous and do not care how they damage the environment (for example they use cyanide to kill fish, or log in protected areas; illegal trade undermines nations’ efforts to manage their natural resources sustainably and causes massive economic losses in lost earnings. It is often said that illegal wildlife trade is the third most valuable illicit commerce behind drugs and arms.
Introducing invasive species that prey upon, or out- compete native species. Invasive species are a major cause of recent extinctions. Wildlife traders have purposely introduced any invasive species, such as American Mink, Red-eared Terrapin and many plant species.
There are certain places where wildlife trade is particularly threatening called “wildlife trade hotspots”. They include China’s international borders, trade hubs in East/Southern Africa and South-east Asia, the eastern borders of the European Union, some markets in Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, parts of Indonesia and New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
TRAFFIC seeks and activates solutions to the problems created by illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade. Our aim is to encourage sustainability by providing decision-makers, traders and others involved in wildlife trade reliable information about the environmental harm irresponsible trade can cause, and present guidance on how to counteract it.
Legislation is a vital way to control wildlife trade, but to be successful, laws need to be widely understood, accepted and practical to apply. A major part of TRAFFIC’s programme is working closely with law makers, law enforcers and the judiciary, to ensure appropriate laws are in place, are fully understood by those enforcing them and transgressors receive appropriate penalties.
J&K Wildlife Protection Act
The Jammu and Kashmir wildlife (Protection) act was enacted in 1978 to meet the objectives contained therein. Since the creation of full-fledged department of Wildlife Protection, in 1982 the state government has taken as series of majors for conservation of forest/ protected areas and the wildlife therein. The state government has not notified about 16000 sq. kms as the protected area network (PAN) which is being managed through anti poaching/ anti grazing activities, habitat management, plantation, soil and water conservation, fire protection, development of infrastructure, providing supplemental feed etc. prior to this J&K Game Preservation Department has been created under Game Preservation Act, 1942 to protect and preserve the Game “In the state” which include the few species of wild animals and birds considered to be important from hunting point of view as a sport. The state has amended the J&K wildlife protection act of 1978 on the lines of Indian wildlife protection act 1972. The schedule have been revised and now there is complete ban on hunting and no. on endangered species of wild animals and plants have been brought to the Schedule-I and Schedule-IV of the act to afford them utmost protection. Apart from this wild plants have also been brought within the preview of this act.
Functions and Responsibilities
- Management and Habitat improvement of Protected Areas
- Law enforcement/ Wildlife Crime check
- Wildlife Management plans Formulation and implement thereof
- Captive breeding, Zoos and Zoological parks
- Research and training programmes
- Species recovery programmes
List of important Wildlife Species of J&K and their status as per IUCN’s Red Data Book / J&K Wildlife Protection Act, 1978 (Amended upto 2002):
|S.No||Species||Region||Status as per IUCN’s Red Data Book||Status as per Wildlife Protection Act|
|1)||Snow Leopard||Ladakh, Kashmir & Jammu||Endangered||Schedule I|
|2)||Common Leopard||Jammu, Kashmir & Ladkah||Near Threatened||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|3)||Black Bear||Kashmir & Jammu||Vulnerable||Schedule – II|
|4)||Brown Bear||Ladakh, Kashmir & Jammu||Least Concern||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|5)||Ibex||Ladakh, Kashmir & Jammu||Least Concern||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|6)||Himalayan tahr||Jammu||Near Threatened||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|7)||Spotted Deer||Jammu||Least Concern||Schedule – III|
|8)||Barking Deer||Jammu||Least Concern||Schedule – III|
|9)||Goral||Jammu||Near Threatened||Schedule – I|
|10)||Markhor||Kashmir & Jammu||Endangered||Schedule – I / Critically Endangered|
|11)||Serow||Kashmir & Ladakh||Near threatened||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|12)||Hangul||Kashmir||Least Concern||Schedule – I / Critically Endangered|
|13)||Musk Deer||Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh||Endangered||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|14)||Chiru (Tibetan Antelope)||Ladakh||Endangered||Schedule – I / Critically Endangered|
|15)||Tibetan gazelle||Ladakh||Near Threatened||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|16)||Nayan (Tibetan Sheep)||Ladakh||–||Schedule – I|
|17)||Wild Yak||Ladakh||Vulnerable||Schedule – I|
|18)||Pallas Cat||Ladakh||–||Schedule – I|
|19)||Black Necked Crane||Ladakh||Vulnerable||Schedule – I|
|20)||Golden Eagle||Kashmir, Ladakh & Jammu||Least Concern||Schedule – I / Endangered|
|21)||Cheer Pheasant||Kashmir, Jammu||Vulnerable||Schedule – I / Endangered|
(Data Source: Annual Administration Report 2011-12, J&K Forest Department)
THE ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE:
- Asia’s greed for ivory puts African elephant at risk Slaughter by poachers intensifies as governments seek to increase legal sales
- There has been a massive surge in illegal ivory trading, researchers warned. They have found that more than 14,000 products made from the tusks and other body parts of elephants were seized in 2009, an increase of more than 2,000 on their previous analysis in 2007.
- Details of this disturbing rise have been revealed on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the world ivory trading ban. Implemented on 18 January 1990, it was at first credited with halting the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of elephants.
- But the recent growth in the far east’s appetite for ivory – a status symbol for the middle classes of the region’s newly industrialised economies – has sent ivory prices soaring from £150 a kilogram in 2004 to more than £4,000.
- At the same time, scientists estimate that between 8% and 10% of Africa’s elephants are now being killed each year to meet the demand. The world’s largest land animal is again threatened with widespread slaughter.
- “It is a really worrying situation,” said Richard Thomas, director of Traffic, the group that monitors trade in wildlife. “However, it is not absolutely clear what should be done.” Indeed, the issue is so confused that a conflict over the ivory trade is expected at March’s meeting of Cites, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
- A key source of contention will be the future of legitimate stockpile sales of ivory that have been permitted by international agreement. Killing elephants for their tusks is illegal, but selling ivory from animals that have died of natural causes has been permitted on occasions. In 2008 a stockpile of tusks – from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – was bought by dealers from China and Japan. The sale, of 105,000 kilograms of ivory, raised more than £15m.
- But now countries including Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo are to call for a ban of these stockpile sales at the Cites meeting. They say such trade – albeit sporadic – only increases demand for ivory goods and is responsible for triggering the recent rise in illegal trade and the killing of thousands of elephants across Africa.
- This point is backed by shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert, who recently returned from a visit to study the impact of ivory poaching in India. “On the 20th anniversary of the international ban on the ivory trade, we should be taking a stand,” he said last week. “Instead of flooding the market with more ivory and legitimising the trade, we should be choking demand, not stoking it.”
- But countries such as Tanzania and Zambia, which have some of the worst poaching records in Africa, want a relaxation of ivory trade regulations at Cites so they can hold their own stockpile sales. They say the tens of millions of pounds that can be raised will help them fund rangers who can protect their elephants.
- “Unfortunately the evidence is not clear whether stockpile sales increase demand for ivory or help to control it,” said Heather Sohl of the WWF. “We have had recent stockpile sales of ivory – and poaching has increased dramatically. But other factors may be involved. Many African countries are suffering terrible drought and local people are desperate. Killing elephants brings money, alas.”
- Killing for tusks is a particularly gruesome trade. Elephants are intelligent animals whose sophisticated social ties are exploited by poachers. They will often shoot young elephants to draw in a grieving parent, which is then killed for its ivory. Estimates suggest more than 38,000 elephants were killed this way in 2006: the death rate is higher today.
BREAKING NEWS: At least 40 dead baby tigers uncovered at infamous Tiger Temple
By Coconuts Bangkok June 1, 2016 / 12:56 ICT
- The rows of tiny bodies were lined up in pictures and look like they may have been killed recently.
- This comes alongside reports that other animal parts have been found inside the temple as well.
- The story broke mid-morning on Twitter when photojournalistDario Pignatelli posted a photo of the tiny tiger remains.
Thai DNP officers show 40 undeclared dead baby tigers found at 9:01 AM – 1 Jun 2016
- A Khaosod English reporteron the scene saw animal entrails in containers, animal horns, a skull and an entire boar corpse.
- The tiger temple is in the midst of havingtheir 147 resident tigers removed after years of accusations of animal abuse, drugging, trafficking and more. The temple denies the claims. Since Monday, 40 tigers had already been moved to new homes at Ratchaburi’s wildlife breeding research station.
- If the baby tigers are recent kills, it would reflect very poorly on the temple and seemingly support claims against the temple that they were involved in illegal practices with the tigers to make profits.
- The temple management, Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, has fought the Department of National Parks for years over the tigers. They began to relent this week when the department secured a court order.
- They haven’t completely relented though. The temple gates were locked tight when they showed up to take the first three tigers on Monday,Khaosod English