“For millennia, people and cultures have relied on nature’s rich diversity of wild plants and animals for food, clothing, medicine and spiritual sustenance. Wildlife remains integral to our future through its essential role in science, technology and recreation, as well as its place in our continued heritage. That is why the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 3rd of March — the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) — as World Wildlife Day” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
Elephant ivory, rhino horn, crocodile skin, leopard skin, snake skin and shark fins are among the most commonly illegally traded wildlife products while a substantial illegal live animal trade includes big cats (cheetah and lion cubs), primates and reptiles.
In Asia, species across all taxonomic groups face threat from trade for medicine, food consumption, clothing, ornamental use, magical and religious use, and live trade (for pets, zoos, circuses).
Growing human populations and improved fishing technology have increased the threat on sharks across the world's oceans. Shark fins are considered a delicacy in many Asian diets and has led to the growth of illegal fishing. To harvest shark fins, fishers sail the world's ocean. Some sharks are fully utilized, while other sharks are caught only for their fins. They are caught, finned by fishers, and returned to the ocean, where the shark bleeds to death.
Therefore, a series of workshops were held in west Asia aiming at building the capacity of stakeholders to implement local and international legislations relevant to the conservation of marine life and specially sharks.
We must join forces, more than ever before, to address major threats to wildlife — from habitat destruction to illegal trade and from invasive species to climate change.
For more information visit the World Wildlife Day website.