When one thinks about illegal wildlife trade, pictures of elephant and rhinos poached and hunted for their ivory and horns come to everyone’s minds. However, the impact of wildlife trade is much wider than you have ever expected. From birds, to orchids and rosewoods, everything is stripped away from its natural form to satisfy human wants and needs.
It is estimated that millions of creatures are smuggled out illegally from the oceans every year and distributed worldwide for food, medicine, sources of live entertainment and to be used for curios.
Here are 7 species you didn’t know are endangered due to increasing illegal wildlife trade:
Grey reef sharks and thresher sharks are hunted on a vast scale in the Indian ocean. Their fins are used for soups and other delicacies as demanded by the rich in South-east Asia. These sharks face devastating tortures, they are dumped back into the ocean left to drown after their fins are cut off.
Over a 100 million sharks are killed each year. As a result, global shark populations have declined by an estimated 90% over the last 50 years.
Caviar also known as ‘Edible Gold’ is in high demand in the European countries. The current annual value of illegal exports of caviar is estimated to be US$250-400 million. Demand for ‘wild caviar’ is skyrocketing leading to overexploitation and staggering declines worldwide.
The popular orange striped fish was loved by adults and children after ‘Finding Nemo’ was released. Demand for this particular type of fish increased rapidly as everyone wanted to keep it in their homes in their ornamental aquariums. As a result the fish is now stunned using cyanide and then scooped up from the ocean. The increased use of cyanide is damaging to the marine environment.
The yellow-naped Amazon parrot is a lesser-known species which plays a vital role as a seed disperser. It also has an astounding vocal talent and is therefore one of the most highly coveted in the Central American pet trade. It is estimated that 200 yellow-named parrot chicks are illegally snatched from their nests every year. Out of which, only half are able to survive the rough transit.
5. European Eels
Trafficking of the European Eel is one of the biggest wildlife crimes in the world. 25% of the total stock of European Eels are illegally smuggled out of Europe causing this species to become ‘critically endangered’.
More than 150 million seahorses are estimated to be caught every year, contributing to 50% declines in seahorse fisheries in the last five years. Perpetually in demand for traditional medicine in East Asia, dried seahorses currently sell for up to US$600 per kilo.
7. Hawksbill Turtle
Hawksbill turtles are one of the most beautiful species in the sea and are essential in helping coral reefs thrive by enabling sponge populations. The Hawskbill turtle shell is used for making jewellery and other products which has caused them to become critically endangered.
Some coastal communities also eat turtle eggs and this is also a direct threat to all sea turtle species. Nesting sites without conservation management are hubs for illegally collected eggs.
Did you know about these 7 types of animals that are threatened due to the extensive illegal wildlife trade? Let us know in the comments below.