By Volker Homes
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the slaughter and trafficking of endangered species represents a threat to national and regional security. Volker Homes of the WWF explains the dangers facing animals and rangers.
DW: What exactly is wildlife trafficking?
Volker Homes: This means huge animals like elephants and rhinos and even tigers are killed for their parts. From elephants the ivory is taken, from rhinos the horn, and then sold for thousands of US dollars, or euros. With this money, basically, other crimes are financed. This is of particular concern.
Indian animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi recently wrote that animal trafficking has exceeded arms and drug trafficking. She also said there are well organized criminal syndicates shifting into the lucrative animal trade.
This is of particular concern. This is quite recent, so with regard to rhinos, about a decade ago, only about one dozen rhinos had been poached per year. But the number increased dramatically - 700 rhinos are being poached each year. And this is not sustainable, so the species is highly threatened, and if the increase continues, we're looking at local extinction of the species.
How is the money that comes from wildlife trafficking used to purchase weapons and support violent conflict? More....