You hear about threats of extinction and the reality of species decline all the time in the media, it is the worst case scenario for any species. For those with an environmental interest and active conservationists, it’s important to refresh ourselves and therefore push our minds towards increased effort into conservation. We should be bringing the threat of illegal trade and poaching to light as much as possible, so here are 5 animals that are currently subject to the trade and poaching plight, and their reasons why.
One elephant is killed every 15 minutes by poachers, amounting to 96 elephants slaughtered a day. This rate should scare everyone who is at all motivated by wildlife and the environment we live in. For animals with the largest brains in the animal kingdom, they are actually exploited for their ivory illegally. Unsurprisingly, there has been a 30% decline in Africa’s savannah elephant population over a seven year period. Effort and progress is happening, with many countries all over the world agreeing to a ban on domestic ivory markets this past year, and films like ‘The Ivory Game’ raising global awareness.
A recent exploitation, rays have been killed for their gills in the past 10 years, most being sold to Asian markets where exotic fish is a delicacy. Populations have dropped by more than half in some areas, with the gills fetching as much as $500 on the markets – they have attracted poachers. More positively, in October 2016, global leaders approved higher levels of protections for Devil rays.
5 main threats face Pangolins: used as a food source, for medicine, skin, meat and scales. Again a popular choice on the Asian market, with China being the main source of pangolin products. Unfortunately, there is a high/growing demand for nearly all body parts of the pangolin. In a recent 2 year spike ending in 2013, 117,000 – 235,000 pangolins were estimated to have been killed.
A statistic that shocked many: a quarter of the world’s shark species are threatened with extinction. This is due to overfishing. With over 100,000,000 sharks killed a year, figures estimated at 270,000+ sharks being killed per day. Finning is a problem and like elephants and their tusks, a single body part is removed from the whole animal, killing it. In October 2016, global leaders placed Silky sharks and Thresher sharks on Appendix II of CITIES.
Best known for their single long tusk, in conservation narwhals have become a silent sufferer. Their populations have decreased to around 75,000, meaning they are considered near threatened by the IUCN. Their populations are threatened by hunting, climate change and industrial activity. Canada and Greenland hunt these narwhals to this day. They continue to receive inadequate protection, making them different from almost all the animals I’ve mentioned.
5 animals out of many and all share one thing in common; they are threatened by humans. It’s important to take action against illegal animal exploitation and represent human’s attitude towards animals positively in this new year of 2017.
If you’re curious to find out about more species that face extinction or are vulnerable and want to help, visit https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/directory?direction=desc&page=2&sort=extinction_status.
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