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Loss of Wildlife

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March 11, 2017 by Species Ecology

Loss of Wildlife

Viviana Granado

Today we no longer speak of renewable natural resources, non-renewable and sustainable resource but we refer the term unsustainable. The wildlife is a natural resource that can become unsustainable if humanity continues to exploit and modify them indiscriminately and without environmental and conservation awareness.

The decrease in natural populations of wildlife in Latin America is mainly due to human modification of natural habitats. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) identifies three broad categories closely related to animal welfare problems leading to a loss of wildlife:

1. Trapping, hunting and fishing
2. Trade of live wild animals or their parts
3. Human intervention in the habitats of wild animals.

Hunting and Illegal Wildlife

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in 1972 in Stockholm, recommended an international agreement to regulate the export, import and transit of endangered wildlife species. Thus, in 1973 in Washington, 88 nations signed a far-reaching international treaty known as the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), which Argentina acceded in 1980.

Hunting is the action that man realize with firearms and other methods (traps, nets, toxic substances, packs, etc..) to pursue or capture wildlife specimens in order to bring them under his control or killing them. Hunting, depending on its purpose, can be: sports, commercial, as pest control or scientific purposes. If any of these four types of illegal hunting is performed, not only laws are broken and taxes eluded, but also discredits the country and its authorities for not respecting international commitments and threatens mainly natural populations of wild animals, reducing its number and putting the endangered species.

In many towns in Latin America, the hunt is part of ritual and status within a community but also wildlife, is an important resource used as a source of food and incomes. Local hunters occasionally sold illegally live animals for food or for their fur and make it in a low cost. For example: Geoffroy´s cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi), Southern Tamandua pups (Tamandua tetradactyla), turquoise- fronted Parrots (Amazona aestiva), capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella).

Another form of illegal commercial hunting that produces very high income is practiced by poachers who use guns. In the jungle environment of the province of Misiones, Argentina, lives the largest carnivore, the jaguar (Panthera onca). The cause is the easy access of hunters who kill the jaguars and their body parts are then used to make bags, rugs or coats that pose high demand in international wildlife commerce.

In wildlife trafficking has well defined links: begins with the very poor people who capture wild animals for a living, getting very little money in return. At the end of the marketing chain is the ordinary citizen who is the final consumer and in the middle are the traffickers who are the people that take the greatest economic benefits. From that perspective, we are all responsible for this illegal act either due to lack of information, awareness or our moral and ethical attitude towards species in general. In Argentina, strong exporter of wild animals and their products, is also a major consumer of irresponsible ownership of wildlife as pets. An important point made by the Wild Life Foundation in Buenos Aires, indicates that 70% of people in this city have or have had pet tortoise at home. Although the trade is banned for being a wild species, people still continue to sell these species hence the tortoise are becoming endangered. Nature during its millions of years of evolution created such an extraordinary species and neatly blended them together with its abiotic environments are now in the hands of another species: the human that acquired the power to wipe out biological organisms that they cannot create.

Some facts to think

In 1997 Interpol ranks the wildlife trafficking case as second most priority case after drug trafficking and arms.
17,000 million illegal sales of wild species of flora and fauna take place across the globe each year. The three trafficking cases operate with the same methodology: falsify official documents, paid bribes, fraudulent customs declarations.
The methods of capture and transfer wild species are very cruel and in horrendously poor condition. In the transport and sale of wild animals, 80% dies. This means that for every animal that comes alive at the market, five died. This implies that many animals will be captured to be economically successful operation.

What can we do?

Do not buy wild animals as pets.
Report to the appropriate authorities and businesses with moratorium or legal mandate on prohibiting or banning the trade of wild species.
Disseminate ecological and conservation related education focusing the benefits the wild animals can have to human being for their essential existence among public, media, churches, and schools. Let them aware which animal should be kept as pet and which one must not be.

Discourage the sale of live wild animals and items made with them for example fur coats, handbags, leather carpet, boots and belts.
If you are to buy a pet animal choose those that can be purchased legally

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