Will countries finally solve the global extinction crisis facing many species?
The elephant’s plight, along with wiping out of rhinos for their horns, will be a key issue this week when 177 countries meet to discuss the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) this week. Statistics on the agenda are an appalling indictment of our exploitation of wildlife.
With a global extinction crisis facing many species, this year's meeting is being described as the most critical in its history. In immediate danger are: Elephants, rhinos, orangutans, lions, tigers, polar bears, manta rays and sharks.
Africa’s elephants are in crisis. Tens of thousands are being poached each year for their ivory used in Chinese good luck charms. Africa’s most reviled terror gangs are funding their brutality by killing these magnificent animals. At the moment, poachers use Thailand's exemption to sell native ivory to their advantage.
Also, 668 rhino, out of South Africa’s 20,000 rhino, were poached last year. African lion numbers have fallen by 50% to below 35,000 since 1980. 3,500 wild tigers are clinging to survival. At least 38 million sharks are caught annually to make fin soup. Thousands of manta rays are caught for traditional Chinese medicine, and approximately 600 polar bears are killed each year.
At the CITES convention, statistics on the agenda are an appalling indictment of our exploitation of wildlife. A political alliance between the world's two biggest economies - the US and China are co-sponsoring proposals to restrict trade in Asian turtles and tortoises. They hope to abolish the secret vote, which allows countries to put commercial interests above conservation.
Once again, politics play a huge part in determining how the world survives. Surely, the killers must realize that when the species is gone, they will have nothing to plunder. Can we, as a species, continue to allow greed to overcome short-term thinking? There must come a time when all countries consider the needs of Mother Earth as being more important than personal gain.