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Swosthi Thapa

Year-Prize: The 9th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Fight against illegal trade in wildlife

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             Fight Against Illegal Trade In Wildlife

Winner's name: Swosthi Thapa (Nepal)
Prize: Honorable Mention

             In most of the countries, every year wildlife are being traded illegally either dead or alive that may be larger or smaller species due to their higher economical value. Wildlife are poached and traded illegally from their original habitat to the international markets as well as local markets. In developing countries like Nepal, where there is greater extent of forest and biodiversity wildlife are poached and then sold as food, pets, tourist curios and medicine that threatens the survival of many endangered species.
              In today?s context, the most trafficked wildlife in Nepal are Rhino, Tiger, Leopard, Musk deer, Bear, Otter, Turtle, Red panda, Pangolin, birds and so on. Male musk deer are poached for their musk pod which is used in perfume trade and for traditional medicine. Rhino horn is used as recreational health tonic and medicine pangolins are killed for meat and scales that is used for traditional medicine and love charms turtle for meat and medicine leopards and tiger for skin and bones red panda for fur and meat elephant for their ivory which is smuggled to be carved into jewellery and other decorative items. There are still other animals that are being trafficked in Nepal but their data isn?t collected properly. Mainly, rapid demand for body parts of wildlife and increase in price of those parts continous to be an irresistible incentive to poachers and those involved in trade of these products. In Nepal, due to unemployment, low living standard, selfishness, lack of knowledge on protection, illetracy, greedyness, people in order to earn money follow these activities that leads to extinction of wildlife.
This illegal trade of wildlife should be stopped because it hampers not only the environment but also ecosystem, wildlife population and local community. Extinction is the greatest threat to animals. Our future generation won?t be able to see Today?s  wildlife if they are poached in rapid way. Not only this, extinction can have negative economic effect on local community especially on tourism industry. A community that relies on its wildlife to attract tourist is at great risk for economic hardship if the prevalence of poaching is high. Furthermore a tourist boycott due to local poaching is real threat. A boycott could have a detrimental effect on community?s economy since hotels, restaurants, rentals and other attractions would suffer and this leads to decrease in earning potential of local people. Killing of wildlife disturbs the maintained ecosystem. Ecosystem is so interconnected that the loss of prey animals within food chain will eventually have same effect as the loss of apex predator will have. In future poaching not only leads to disappearance of animals but also causes unemployment, loss of national income, effect on environment, imbalance ecosystem and many more due to which developing activities in country may reduced.
               In order to fight against poaching and illegal trade of wildlife, various activities,  programmes and projects have been launched locally as well as nationally. Different NGOs/INGOs, Nepal Police, Nepal Army, Government officials, District Forest Offices, WWF, Department of National Park and Wildlife Reserve, local communities and people themselves are participating in saving wildlife. Government is also taking action from its level to save animals. Government should strictly implement the rules and regulations and poachers should be given strict punishment. Various camps and shelters should be constructed for rangers who patrol the areas of endangered species as well they must have tools and weapons necessary at stopping illegal poaching. Local communities should be involved in every activities adopting best technology, increasing cooperation and strengthening the prosecution of wildlife criminals. Community based wildlife trade monitoring and curbing initiatives should be established. We, the youth can be the key for protection. We can conduct awareness raising and capacity building programmes through education initiatives, media workshops, campaigns and training. We can also conduct field level intelligence collection with communities, traders, transport companies and enforcement agencies to gather information on illegal trade routes and markets so that poachers cannot be active. We can conduct advocacy, workshops, training during strategic events like wildlife week, environment day, biodiversity day, regular campaigns and many more as the means of awareness. We know the saying of Mahatma Gandhi, ?Be the change you want to see in the world? so we ourselves can do many more and be a part of it for saving wildlife. As Nepal achieved zero poaching of Rhinos, Tigers and elephants for the year 2011 and 2014 this can be achieved by other parts of the world also. Save wildlife and save the environment. Go Wild for Life.   


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