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| Last Updated:: 28/06/2016

World Environment Day : Go wild for life

     World Environment Day
             Go wild for life
Tuesday, 7th June 2016 12:49 PM IST
On 5 June every year since 1974, people from across the globe have been celebrating World Environment Day (WED) by taking part in environmental action and becoming agents of change for positive impacts on the planet. The UN General assembly in 1972 designated June 5 as the World Environment Day (WED) marking the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.One of the very important resolutions adopted by the same assembly the same day led to the creation of UNEP (United Nations Environment Program). WED celebrated for the first time in 1974 with the slogan of “Only One Earth”. Since then the relevance of this day and the themes and the slogans of the WED has been on the rise and practicable. This day serves as “people’s day” to do something so freely and independently to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change. The theme for this year WED is on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan “Go Wild for Life”. Global host country for WED 2016 is Angola where the official celebrations will take place. Angola is today seeking to restore its elephant herds and bring peace and prosperity where environment becomes a part of the heart and minds of the people integrated with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Raising the voice against illegal trade in wildlife and by supporting and joining the global fight against the illegal trade in wildlife needs to be a strongly pushed for a secure and a more tolerant future. Zero Tolerance towards the illegal trading of wildlife is today very much required for surviving a Tolerant Future.
Illegal trade in wildlife and Biodiversity:
Biodiversity which consists of the species, genetic and ecosystem diversities is the source of foods, medicines, shelters and innumerable services are getting eroded due to horribly illegal and criminal means of trading and commodification of the wild lives and their products. Every single species in every possible parts of the world is a magic well and are the products of natural selection and adaptation. If conserved and asked proper questions every species has answers and solutions for every queries and problems for us. Biodiversity loss today, unlike the past mega extinction so called Big Five, is driven mainly by human activities.
Recorded data indicates that Wildlife crime endangers iconic species such as elephants, rhinos, tigers, gorillas and sea turtles the Wildlife crime endangers. Declaration of the extinction of a subspecies of Javan rhino from Vietnam and the vanishing of the last western black rhinos from Cameroon in 2011, disappearance of the Great apes from Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo, and other countries are all directing to the human activities of trading on this wild animals.
Besides these, many lesser known species which however play very important ecological roles popularly known as keystone species are also exterminated directly or indirectly due to Wildlife crimes.
The current trend of the global illegal trade in wildlife for keeping them as pets is extremely unsustainable and is emptying our forests, rivers, skies, villages and mountains to supply a steady stream of romantic and exotic non native pets to the ever hunger and not well aware global consumers. Can you believe that nearly 1.3 million African grey parrots were removed from the continent for the last 30 years for the international pet trade rendering the species threatened today? In those places where once the chirping birds adorned the beauty of the places are now ruled by the dull silences. And the ways these species are brought from their native places to the adopted places and the homes are beyond all descriptions of sorrows and pains such as drugging, chaining, starving, crowding and all possible means of tortures.
Illegal trade in wildlife and Economy:
The illegal trade in wildlife is also causing alarming problems by undermining economies and promoting organized crime. It is fuelling and feeding corruption and insecurity across the nations. By overexploiting the animals and the plants in their natural habitats by means of overfishing, trapping and mutating the natural habitats the wild lives are rendered rarer and scarcer sending the commercial value uncontrollably soaring. Brain Horne of the Wildlife Conservation Society reports that certain species of Asian box turtle are now selling for as much as US$40,000 per hatchling. Such rampant activities cause the loss and destruction of the habitats, loss of livelihood activities of the locals making them even poorer.
Desire for the exotic animals, plants and their products are converting the poor residents and tribes in the wild life habitats and biodiversity rich countries into poachers armed by organised criminal syndicates. Many a times they outgun security forces, loot villages and decimate animal populations. Their bloody haul is mostly transported by agents who bribe officials and undermine the security of national states.
The dimension of the illegal wild life trade is very deep and multi faceted. And hence all possible means to control this crime is welcome. Stricter rules and regulations have to be formulated and implemented well. Understanding that environment is important and at the same time it is fragile must be the guiding spirit of all the awareness programs. Through the WED celebrations seas of people from different nations and groups have taken part in environmental action of great relevance. By grouping and channelizing well the energy of each individual and nation WED really has the power to generate humongous positive impacts on the planet. Wildlife and the conservation must be treated as personal issue.
Burning of the 105 tones of ivory and 1.35 tones of rhino horn in Kenya last April was a timely and a symbolic action to end the poaching crisis. Such actions shall signal to the buyer communities and the markets located near and far the associated criminal acts. Whoever we are and wherever we are lets “Go wild for Life” to inherit a safer and a more tolerable world. Lets allow the wild life move freely by allowing the human transportation and our transports free of the products of wild life. We must, I must be serious about the wildlife trades and crimes associated with them.
(The writer is an Assistant Professor in Zoology at Ramjas College and Research Scholar of Human Ecology at Ambedkar University, Delhi. He can be reached at-