Animal Crimes Rise by 26 Percent
Yes, you read it right. Animal crimes have increased globally by 26 percent from last year and given rise to dwarf crimes worth up to $3 billion. Hence, the theme for 2016 World Environment Day by the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) – Go Wild for Life. “We have chosen this theme because damage from this trade has become so serious and so far reaching that urgent action is needed to reverse it,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a video message on the occasion of the Day, celebrated annually on 5th June.
Every year on World Environment Day, a new environmental cause is laid focus on, facts are put forth, policies are made and an urgency to tackle them is imparted on a global front. June 5ths come and go, and we adapt ourselves to just planting trees, pledging to reduce plastic use and forgetting about them. But do we really understand the importance of this day?
Addressing The Issue of Animal Crimes
The UNODC’s World Wildlife Crime Report shows that 7,000 species were found in more than 164,000 seizures in 120 countries. Such proactive and punitive actions on the ground are needed to arrest the rise in animal crimes. Simultaneously international and domestic institutional initiatives are also needed to stop the commerce of wildlife and increase awareness in the general populace.
UNEP official #GoWildForLife campaign
This campaign by UNEP stresses that greed, fashion, ignorance, indifference, investment, corruption, pseudo-medicinal use and cultural belief should not be allowed to endanger any species of animal or plant or tree. The video has very beautifully pieced together every wrongdoing by us to the environment and called upon every individual to spread this awareness and change themselves at a moral level.
Angola hosts the World Environment Day Celebrations with strong steps to curb Elephant poaching
Home to global environmental crime, costing up to 258 billion per year, Angola has established an environmental crime unit to resist animal poaching and ensure the safety of wild animals that are precious to us. Any illegal activity rises up from dire circumstances and by understanding this, the Angola Government has introduced stringent penalties for poaching, have shut down domestic markets that trade in animal products illegally and taken steps to provide alternate livelihood to the people at the bottom of this trade. Angola has also joined twelve other nations as a signatory to the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), which focuses on protecting African elephants through measures such as closing domestic markets.
Capacity Building Programme by WCCB
Local people and students are the main sources of information in areas where humans clash with wildlife. In order to further strengthen local awareness, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) held a capacity building training program for the state forest, police department, and WCCB personnel in Pune, India to help them curb these crimes with local help and interaction.
How Can You Make A Difference?
- Say ‘No’ to Zoos : Zoos keep animals in captivity, away from their natural habitat and their social life. This causes an adverse effect on the animal’s psychology and health (Read about the world’s loneliest elephant). Instead, make an effort and go to national parks like Gir in Gujarat or Jim Corbett in Uttar Pradesh where the animals live in their natural habitat
- Stop going to Circus: Circus showcases wild animals for our entertainment by training them in the most brutal way , often forcibly, and away from their natural surroundings. And think about this, the money you pay for a show, how much of it really used for the well being of the animals.
- Stop buying animals and animal products: The leathers and furs that you so pompously adorn have been obtained by killing an innocent animal. And the animals that you buy for your pleasure are craving to be back to their natural habitat. They are not ours to own them.
A lot of activities are taking place globally to curb these crimes. Individual initiatives backed by a moral sense of responsibility towards this cause can go a long way. After all, animals are safest when left alone.