TOP 5 Illegal Activities in the World:
Finally someone has brought serious attention to the public eye on the lucrative illegal wildlife trade, the 5th biggest avenue of corruption and criminal activity in the world. Upon his visit to parts of Africa, President Obama announced his wildlife initiative plan.
Obama’s new campaign to fight wildlife trafficking includes an executive order, $10 million in funding, a task force and a presidential advisory council. The campaign will focus on helping affected countries establish and enforce better trafficking laws;, supporting regional cooperation; training their police and rangers; and beefing up their law enforcement and intelligence-gathering capacities. It will also use a new “Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program” to offer bounties for poachers and push for more modern technologies to identify and capture them.
The issue has also been presented with China in an effort to address the demand side of the trade in animal parts, primarily rhino and elephant. Both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have discussed this with them.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
It means the U.S is publicly going on record to show no tolerance for the continued decimation of animals on our planet, as well as putting emphasis on the seriousness of the criminal syndicate. Now valued between $7 billion to $10 billion a year, the lucrative trade funds many corrupt operations i.e. drugs, human trafficking, weapons, and gang activity.
The U.S is second only to China in partaking in the black market of wildlife trade. This admittance and commitment will step up regulations here, as well as setting the bar for the rest of the world.
The President stated “The survival of protected wildlife species … has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations. Wildlife trafficking reduces those benefits while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability, and undermining security.”
The Philippines Contribution
In a monumental move to battle the illegal wildlife trade, the Philippines were the first Asian country to publicly destroy it’s stockpile of ivory. On Friday it started the destruction of 5 tons of seized ivory.
Ramon Paje, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said “The Philippines will not be a party to the massacre and we refuse to be a conduit to this cycle of killing,”
Although on the surface, they are sending a strong message, according to DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, there are still 8 tons unaccounted for. There is currently an investigation to determine its whereabouts.
What about South Africa?
Shortly after Obama’s’ visit, South Africa announced plans for a one-time selling of its stockpile of ivory. Ironic this should come on the heels of the President’s visit. The debate on legal horn trade rages on, but the timing of this decision seems to undermine the seriousness and conviction of the statement from the U.S.
With the U.S. and even the Philippines stepping up, it seems momentum is on the side of wildlife. So why wouldn’t S.A. simply destroy theirs as well?
History has proven legal trade does NOT work. In 2008 the ban was lifted on ivory, which opened the flood gates and escalated elephant poaching , which they are still being massacred for. Repeating this for the rhino would be the same disaster.
Please let your voice be heard. South Africa’s move toward petitioning CITES to legalize the rhino horn trade will decimate the species..
Please write! #-SayNoToRhinoHornTrade