New Campaign Asks People to “Get Wild for Wildlife” Top story

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In short
The Wild for Life campaign stresses that greed, fashion, ignorance, indifference, investment, corruption, pseudo-medicinal use and cultural belief should not result in threats to any species.

The United Nations is asking people to "go wild for wildlife" and use their own sphere of influence to help end the illegal trade in species.

The appeal follows a confirmation that damage from the illicit trade in wildlife products has become so serious and dwarfs the illegal trade in small arms, which is valued at about 3 billion US Dollars. It is the world's fourth-largest criminal enterprise after drug smuggling, counterfeiting and human trafficking.

A rapid response report released by Interpol and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), on the eve of World Environment Day (WED), finds that weak laws and poorly funded security forces are enabling international criminal networks and armed rebels to profit from a trade that fuels conflicts, devastates ecosystems and is threatening species with extinction.

The Rise of Environmental Crime report shows that smugglers and poachers are driving whole species to the brink of extinction. Species such as rhinos, tigers, gorillas, sea turtles and elephants have become endangered, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said.

More than one quarter of the world's elephant population has been killed in a decade. Some of world's most vulnerable wildlife, like rhinos and elephants, are being killed at a rate that has grown by more than 25 per cent every year in the last decade.

"The result is not only devastating to the environment and local economies, but to all those who are menaced by these criminal enterprises. The world needs to come together now to take strong national and international action to bring environmental crime to an end."
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The last decade has seen environmental crime rise by at least 5-7 per cent per year. This means that environmental crime - which includes the illegal trade in wildlife, corporate crime in the forestry sector, the illegal exploitation and sale of gold and other minerals, illegal fisheries, the trafficking of hazardous waste and carbon credit fraud - is growing two to three times faster than global GDP.

The report recommends strong action, legislation and sanctions at the national and international level, including measures targeted at disrupting overseas tax havens; an increase in financial support commensurate with the serious threat that environmental crime poses to sustainable development; and economic incentives and alternative livelihoods for those at the bottom of the environmental crime chain.

To combat the illegal trade in wildlife, the United Nations system and partners have launched their Wild for Life campaign, which draws on support from celebrities such as footballer Yaya Touré, Actor Don Cheadle and Neymar Jr. to mobilize millions to take action against poaching and the trafficking of illegal wildlife products.

The "Wild for Life" campaign stresses that greed, fashion, ignorance, indifference, investment, corruption, pseudo-medicinal use and cultural belief should not result in threats to any species.


About the author

Sylvia Nankya
Sylvia is an Editor and Media Trainer with Uganda Radio Network. She has been a URN staff member since 2013. Sylvia has previously worked as a reporter and news anchor with Radio One (2001-2009) and with Vision Group (2009-2011). Six of her active years in Journalism were spent covering the Parliament of Uganda.

Over the past few years, Sylvia has worked to promote the positive development of societies recovering from conflict through training journalists on choices of stories, how they report issues and use of appropriate language in covering conflict and post-conflict situations.

She is an Alumni of RNTC- Holland, Les Aspin Centre for Government at Marquette University-WI, USA and a Community Solutions Fellow.