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Europe: Key Player In Wildlife Trafficking

992 words - 4 pages

Scientists from the United Nations Environment Program have estimated that approximately 150 species go extinct every day. In addition around 11% of the birds and 15% of the mammal species are considered threatened with extinction (Vidal, 2010, ¶5). Illegal wildlife trafficking has become the second biggest threat for the survival of these endangered species, the number one threat being the destruction of their habitat (World Wildlife Fund, n.d, ¶1). Today the European Union plays a key role in international wildlife trafficking, as it is the number one destination market in the world. In addition it is considered the main transit point between Africa and Asia. Due to the fact that these ...view middle of the document...

From there they are re-exported to the rest of the region," (Colombo, 2003, ¶10). The EU, in addition, is used as a main transit point between Africa and Asia. Therefore, according to Tony Long, Director at WWF European Policy Office, ”the European Union should have an international obligation to ensure adequate controls are in place to interdict the trafficking ” (World Wildlife Trafficking, 2014, ¶5).

The second thing the EU should do is implement higher sanctions. The sanctions for wildlife trafficking have been very low. This is also one of the reasons why it has become such an attractive business. As stated in the Dutch newspaper Nu the fines for wildlife trafficking are less than 10 yeas of jail or a fine of 45.000 (Nu, 2005, ¶2). Unfortunately, these fines are never this high. Last year Anson Wong, the world’s most notorious dealer in endangered animals was finally caught. Due to his criminal records he should have gotten the highest sanction, however, he only had to face less 10 months of jail (Maleisie, 2013, ¶1). This is just one of many examples, most of the wildlife traffickers that are being caught get away with a fine; which in proportion with what the earn are very low. With the implementation of higher sanctions it would eventually become a less attractive business for current traffickers but also for newcomers.

The final and most important thing the EU should do is creating awareness. The extinction of wildlife should be concern for all and not only for the countries where these animals originally come from. According to WWF statistics, there are 3879 animals that are critically endangered (WWF, n.d). By creating awareness it is estimated that the demand will decrease. Today, there is a significant demand in exotic animals and goods such as ivory, animal’s skins and souvenirs. The problem, however, remains in the fact that most tourists, when buying a souvenir on their vacation in Thailand for example, do not realize that they are contributing to wildlife trafficking by buying these goods. Therefore, it is of great importance to create...

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