A World Wild Fund report on Tuesday said wildlife trafficking occurs in almost 30% of the world’s most protected areas, including World Heritage Sites, and called for urgent steps to counter the illegalities. The document said species listed as protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in the world’s most ecologically important places were being targeted.
It said illegal poaching, logging and fishing were pushing endangered species towards extinction and risking the futures of communities who rely on them. “We urgently need more collaboration and integration between CITES, the World Heritage Convention and national authorities to lead a more coordinated, comprehensive response to halt wildlife trafficking – from harvesting of species in source countries, transportation through processing destinations, to sales in consumer markets,” Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International.
Over 90% of World Heritage sites are employment generators in the recreation and tourism industry. “This report is a sobering reminder of just how far this type of organised crime can reach, extending even into the supposed safety of World Heritage sites,” said Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
An earlier WWF report had found nearly half of all natural World Heritage sites were under threaten by industrial activities like mining, oil and gas drilling, and by construction of large-scale infrastructure. Such activities have impacted millions of people.