By Colin Todhunter – RINF, 5 June 2016
Excavators continue building a peatland drainage canal on the border between remaining rainforest and the charred stumps from fires on recently cleared peatland in the PT Rokan Adiraya Plantation palm oil plantation near Sontang village in Rokan Hulu, Riau, Sumatra.
The scaly anteater is considered to be the most trafficked mammal on earth. Over a million of these have been taken from the wild in the past decade alone. The illegal trade in live apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, is also rife, and many other species across the planet are being trafficked. It is estimated that rhino poaching in South Africa increased by as much as 8,000% between 2007 and 2014. For every live animal illegally taken from the wild, there are many more killed during capture and transport.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Secretary-General of CITES, John Scanlon, states that the current wildlife crisis is not a natural phenomenon, but the direct result of people’s actions. He argues, “People are the cause of this serious threat to wildlife and people must be the solution, which also requires us to tackle human greed, ignorance and indifference.”
The nature of the crisis Scanlon speaks of is clear. The vast illegal trade in wildlife products is pushing whole species towards extinction, including elephants, rhinos, big cats, gorillas and sea turtles, as well as helmeted hornbills, pangolins and wild orchids.
By Dr Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 20 April 2016