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Essay

Abdelaziz Maldisa

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: Abdelaziz Maldisa (Philippines)
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 Abdelaziz N. Maldisa
Entry for the 9th Eco-Generation Environmental Essay Competition
June 30, 2016
Ornamental fish and exotic
wildlife trade: Biodiversity in crisis
The Philippines as a country have long struggled with environmental conservation. Although
blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna, the country is classified as a megadiverse country by
Biodiversity A-Z, it?s burgeoning population of 102 million, exacerbated by the already densely
populated cities are driving people to cut down forests for residential land, reclaim land from estuaries,
lakes and bays as well as overfish stocks that threaten to unhinge the delicate status quo in nature. An
article published by Alave (2012) point out the alarming trend this poses for the country?s wildlife.
Demand from neighbouring China and Hong Kong for ornamental fish, which are auspicious gifts for
the Lunar New Year, are driving fishermen to deprive reefs of ornamental fish , threatening marine
ecosystems. Another point to worry about is that these fish does not have the capability to reproduce
in captivity, most probably owing to stress in living in an artificial environment. This has led fish
enthusiasts to drive up the demand, giving impoverished fishermen a potentially lucrative trade(for
example, leopard coral grouper can cost up to USD 23 per kg.), disregarding the environment in the
process. The recent release of the film Finding Dory also highlighted the ornamental fish trade,
leading social media activists to campaign for the protection of the blue tang fish, as it was revealed
that greater demand for clownfish after Finding Nemo?s release led to a massive decrease in number
of wild clownfish, which are vital symbiotic organisms in the world?s oceans. The Philippines, being
located in the Coral Triangle, faces constant pressure both from fishermen and nefarious
businessmen , which remains major challenges for the country?s authorities to deal with. An
archipelago with largely spread out landmasses coupled with a lack of modern coast guard fleets have
made the fight to stop poaching for oceanic wildlife very difficult to combat.
BIODIVERSITY IN CRISIS !1
In addition, the exotic wildlife trade is also on the rise in the country. Despite lacking diversity of
species found in rainforests, Guzman(2010) still believes that many species are endemic to the country.
This include the rare monkey-eating eagle, purportedly the largest eagle in the world, the mouse deer,
the tamaraw, a type of oxen, as well as the tarsier. These species are predominantly exploited for sale
in the pet trade. In addition, parrots are particularly sought after by poachers and fetches high
demand in neighbouring Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. The trade is estimated to cost billions of
pesos in revenue for illicit businessmen, most of which go to offshore accounts. The Philippines is now
combatting the trade head-on with harsh legislation. With the recent passage of the Philippine
Wildlife Act, poaching and killing wildlife can now be punishable by lengthy prison sentences coupled
with hefty fines. It is in the purview of the government that stricter implementation of the laws of the
land would be an effective deterrent against poaching and help in environmental conservation.
However, since the country has poorly developed communications networks, abuses can still be
expected in the remoter parts of the country. The government should invest more in interception gear,
modern patrol boats and coast guard vessels in order to help chase down fishermen poachers as well as
tighten security in Marine exclusive and economic zones. Also, the government should try to enact
legislation barring foreign shipping vessels such as tankers from cruising in the Tubbataha Reef and
other coral reefs in the Sulu Sea, as oil spills can adversely affect marine ecosystems. This should also
be done in protected forests and lands. Electrified fences should be erected to prevent human
intervention of the natural ecosystem. Also, rare birds should be electronically tagged in order to
continuously monitor their locations. Last but not least, perhaps the most effective solution in
combatting illegal wildlife trade would be to launch information campaigns in schools and in the
public sphere to educate the public of the importance of these species to our ecosystems. Through
long term campaigns such as this, a future generation of Filipinos would be more appreciative of the
uniqueness and biodiversity our country is famous for the world over.
BIODIVERSITY IN CRISIS !2
SOURCES
Alave, K. (2012). http://globalnation.inquirer.net/43917/ph-center-of-?illegal?-livereef-
aquarium-fish-trade. Retrieved 6/30/16
Guzman, S. (2010). http://www.philstar.com/opinion/621622/philippine-biodiversitycrisis
Retrieved 6/30/16
(n.a.) http://www.biodiversitya-z.org/content/megadiverse-countries . Retrieved 6/30/16
BIODIVERSITY IN CRISIS !3on 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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