Sunday, 1 March 2015

World Wildlife Day; Getting Serious about Wildlife Crime


This Tuesday, 03-March-2015, Blue Temple Conservation will be celebrating World Wildlife Day. Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly, World Wildlife Day is held on the day of the adoption of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). As well as providing an opportunity for us to celebrate our privileged interactions with the world’s diverse forms of wild plants and animals, World Wildlife Day also seeks to raise awareness of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and the multitude of economic, environmental and social impacts that stem from crimes against wildlife. In recognition of this, we’ve investigated three contemporary issues that are having a significant impact on the world’s marine environment.

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Extraction and Distribution of Shark Fins (Source: WildAid and Shark Savers)
Current estimates suggest that approximately 100 million sharks are killed every year. The removal of these apex predators is having a devastating impact on marine ecosystems the world over, upsetting the delicate balance that exists in these fragile environments. Close to 73 million of these sharks are murdered in support of the destructive and inhumane shark fin industry. As part of this industry, the most valuable piece of the shark, its fins, are removed and the remainder of the catch is often simply thrown overboard (up to 98% of the shark is wasted as part of this process). Shark fins are then distributed to those regions where demand for shark fin soup exists. It is important to note too that there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that the end product provides any medicinal or health benefits for the consumer. If this practice is allowed to continue at current rates, many shark species (including, Hammerhead, Dusky, Bull and Tiger shark species) will be in danger of extinction. You can do your bit by signing WildAid’s shark pledge online and letting the world know that #I’mFINishedwithFINS.

Further information regarding finning can be found at Wild Aid and Shark Savers

(Photo Source: Science Daily)

Aquarium Trade of Tropical Fish (Source: Sea Shepherd)
Most of us are familiar with Finding Nemo and, perhaps more embarrassingly, Deuce Bigalow, and the prominence of tropical fish in each of these fictional movies. However, did you ever stop and think about the impact of the aquarium trade of tropical fish on the world’s marine environment. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society certainly has and their estimates indicate that more than 11 million reef fish and millions of other reef dwellers are removed from our ocean’s each year to support demand created by aquarium hobbyists in the United States, alone. Global demand sees these figures doubled. If this extraction continues unmonitored, the forecast for biodiversity in our ocean’s coral reef ecosystems is bleak with both species extinction and ecosystem collapse very real possibilities. You can make a difference by providing financial support for Sea Shepherd’s, Operation Reef Defense, or investigating the origins of tropical fish in your local pet store.

Further information regarding aquarium trade can be found at National Geographic

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Hunting and Poaching of Sea Turtles (Source: WWF)
The illegal trade and direct consumption of the world’s sea turtles coupled with further destructive human activities and the exceptionally high natural mortality of hatchlings and juveniles means that an increasing number of sea turtles are failing to live long enough to reproduce. If hunting and poaching practices are allowed to continue at current rates, the result will be a rather depressing forecast for the future of the world’s seven sea turtle species. As recognised by the World Wildlife Fund, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) now prohibits international trade in all sea turtle species and their parts. However, unfortunately, illegal trafficking persists. By supporting the WWF’s StopWildlife Crime campaign and refusing to buy products made from sea turtle parts, you can help to reduce the impact of hunting and poaching on the world’s sea turtle populations.

Further information regarding hunting and poaching can be found WWF's website