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Poaching and trafficking in wild species are accelerating "at an alarming rate"

On the occasion of World Animal Day, the International Fund for the Protection of animals calls for the containment of a scourge "for which no sign of significant slowdown is observed".

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Poaching and trafficking in wild species are accelerating
Céline Sissler-Welcome is Director of International Fund for Protection of Animals (IFAW) France and francophone Africa.

In recent years, plundering of natural resources has continued to accelerate at an alarming rate in order to fuel an insatiable demand for species of wild Fauna and flora, particularly threatened, which has become globalised through competition of Internet. Millions of animals are illegally caught or poached to be sold as pets, food, souvenirs for tourists, ornaments, amulets, luxury trinkets or even ingredients entering traditional Pharmacopoeia Asian.

These activities, of an unprecedented magnitude, today represent a serious threat to survival and conservation of many species, among which are some of most emblematic of our planet: Every year, on average, tens of Millions of sharks, 100 000 pangolins, 20 000 elephants, 1 000 rhinos or a hundred tigers are reduced to inert state of fins, scales, ivory, horns or furs ... These figures, stunning, obscuring status of animal as a unique and irreplaceable individual, testify to ongoing hemorrhage and for which no sign of significant slowdown is observed.

Militarization of fight against poaching

Poaching and trafficking in wild animals are among most lucrative transnational organized criminal activities mixing corruption, falsification of documents, money laundering, tax evasion, arms trafficking, trafficking in Narcotics or assassinations in image of recent one of our partner and friend Wayne Lottery or a hundred Rangers a year. Cruel by essence for animals that are victims, this crime weakens vital ecosystems, undermines development and good governance efforts of many countries and raises major security issues when it reveals itself One of sources of income of terrorist organizations.

So re is an urgency to act more firmly. The compression points applied here and re over last five years have not had desired effect. Now laying of a tourniquet is necessary to stop poaching and illegal trade that is decementing wild species.

Some measures fall under responsibility of States. So some countries have opted for a militarization of fight against poaching by reinforcing firepower of ir Rangers, by training m to use a technology formerly reserved for Armed Forces (rmal imaging, drones, Night vision devices, etc.) or by erecting practice – challenged – to "shoot to kill" in absolute rule. Or countries have, for ir part, hardened ir sanctions in order to raise traffic of wild species to rank of a serious offence like narcotics trafficking or, now, integrate with ir control device support of cynotechniques units, Dogs Sniffers have become, in last two years, sought after allies in conservation of endangered species.

Ors have made a vow to close ir legal domestic markets. In addition to signal sent to consumers aimed at diverting m from wild specimens concerned, this measure reduces channels that can be exploited by criminal networks to launder ir illegal merchandise. In March, China, identified as preferred smuggling destination for wild-species specimens, began a gradual closure of its domestic ivory market, which is expected to be effective at end of year.

We call on European Union, which concentrates one third of global ivory seizures, to strictly prohibit any ivory trade on its territory

However, this long-awaited and hopeful initiative for world's last elephants will not, on its own, be enough to contain ir demise as long as or markets exist. That is why we call on European Union, which occupies third largest market for illicit wild species and concentrates one third of world's ivory seizures, strictly banning all ivory trade on its territory and Significantly strengn resources of agencies involved in fight against this crime.

Many of political measures taken so far have shown a certain international momentum, involving source countries, transit countries and consumer countries. But, implemented in isolation, se measures are struggling to deter adversary, which will remain underestimated as long as wildlife-related crime is not treated as a serious geopolitical subject calling for a concerted global response, including No Country cannot be freed today.

READ ALSO: To escape poachers, elephants walk at night and hide day

In addition, people and ir power of action are often forgotten. Some measures are simply a matter of our collective awareness. The quest for wild animal or single derivative, rare, or more expensive, has a cost: that of many lives both animal and human. But equation is simple: if we do not buy, y will not die! On this World day celebrating animals, Wednesday, October 4th, let us remember that our survival and well-being depend on irs.

Céline Sissler-Welcome, director IFAW France and Francophone Africa

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