• Subhasri Banerjee

Poaching, Illegal Trade of Wildlife Spreading Zoonotic Diseases


The demand for Rhino tusks has declined

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how devastating a zoonotic disease can be for humanity. The UN released a report on 10th July discussing the same. Poaching and illegal trade have been found to spread viruses like the coronavirus.

The World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 points out how the trafficking of some wild animals can lead to the transmission of diseases. The animals are butchered and then sold illegally. The process has multiple instances of humans getting in physical contact with the carcasses and here is where the transmission of diseases. The report is available in the form of a document. I will advise my readers to give it a look. Click here to read it.

Pangolins Become the World's Most Trafficked Mammal

The report shows the extreme trafficking of the wild species of pangolins, which have been acknowledging as a potential source for coronaviruses. The experts of WHO are on their way to China and teams have been formed to understand the origin of the COVID-19.

Between 2014 and 2018. pangolin scales seizures increased by ten times, making it the most trafficked mammal. Over 6000 species were seized during this time. These also include reptiles, birds, fishes, and corals. No country so far has been identified as the origin of these crimes. Suspected traffickers belong to nearly 150 countries, which gives us a look into how widespread this crime is.


Illegal Trade of Wood Rises

The report also shows that markets of illicit rosewood, ivory, rhino horns, live reptiles, pangolin scales, and European eels also exist. The demand for African ivory and rhino horn has declined. These two items generated more than $600 million between between2016 and 2018. The demand for tropical hardwood timber also rose. The illegal trade of African Rosewood has entered a genuine supply for furniture. Tiger product trade has also increased, alongside other big cat parts such as claws and skin. The illegal wildlife trade has made its way into the digital work, where traffickers are selling live reptiles, tiger bone products, and other items, through online platforms, via heavily encrypted messaging apps.

Cross-Border Coordination Critical for Stopping Illegal Trade

UNODC (UN Office of Drugs and Crime) has reiterated that stopping illegal trade is crucial for protecting biodiversity and ecological balance. The UNODC also released a report on how zoonotic diseases can be prevented. Check that article out here https://www.projecthelpngo.org/post/un-report-on-prevention-of-zoonotic-diseases

They also requested stronger criminal justice systems and cooperation between neighbouring countries, to accelerate investigations.


494% Rise In Green Offenses In India

NCRB compiled city-wise environmental crime data. Environmental related offences in Maharashtra increased by 494% between 2016 and 2018, going from 170 cases in 2016 to 1010 cases in 2018. Mumbai and Maharashtra saw 10 and 45 cases recorded under the Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986. Most of these cases were related to tree felling, mangrove cutting, Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations, debris dumping in eco-sensitive zones, illegal quarrying, and hill cutting. Offences related to air and water pollution were also recorded. Mumbai suburban district-level committee for the coastal regulation zone and mangrove violations alone recorded 286 cases in 2018 under EPA.


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Established June 2018