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Illegal trade in endangered species: Part II The demand side

I ended the previous blog by saying that the demand side of the equation, namely the demand for exotic and endangered animals, live as pets, or dead as products has to be addressed by consumers. Without demand, there would be no incentive for black market to flourish.

Here’s is the ECOWALK appeal:

- Do not use Chinese Traditional medicine with tiger bones, bear gall bladder, rhino horn and rare exotic species animal parts. Insist on knowing the constituents. Check with your supplier or doctor what the ingredients are. There are alternatives available, using combinations of plant herbs for the same effects desired.

- Do not ever keep endangered or exotic species as pets as this directly contributes to dwindling wildlife populations, and supports the wildlife trade, most of which is illegal.

- Avoid delicacies such as shark fin soup. There is no scientific corroboration at to its purported medicinal properties. The flavour comes from the rest of the ingredients in the soup. Sharks are taken out of water and their fins are chopped off while they are alive. They are thrown back into the water to die a long and agonising death. Sharks are also important for maintaining marine ecosystems.

Avoid eating or consuming directly or indirectly products which contain wildlife.

-  If you see such species in pet shops, or neighbourhood do report to the authorities.

- Do not buy ivory, or beads, ornaments or artefacts of animal horns or bones. Avoid buying jewellery made of coral too, as these lead to depletion of coral reefs that support a diversity of marine species.

- Support community projects in your country that give livelihoods to villagers and poachers to take away their dependence on wildlife as a means of making a living.

- Encourage green tourism, so local communities can derive economic benefit from retaining their wildlife and habitats.

- Teach children about products which contain wildlife parts- traditional medicine, reptile skin bags, shoes , purses and belts, animal fur, ivory

- Help to protect wildlife habitats, by ensuring you by products such as paper and wood from sustainable plantations, and products which don’t use palm oil or sustainable palm oil.

According to Conservation International, it would cost US $23 billion per year for the next ten years to create and effectively police the number of protected areas necessary to maintain current wildlife populations around the world. This is less than half what America spends each year on soft drinks!!

The task is urgent! We have to do our bit…whatever we can to support the efforts from the consumer end. We have to care enough for a more humane treatment of the creatures that share our planet, as well as to preserve the multitude of species that our children and grandchildren may never get to see.

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Posted by on Dec 8 2008. Filed under Animals/Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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