Illegal wildlife trade across
the world is worth billions of dollars each year and is one of the major threats
to the survival of our most iconic species in the wildlife such as Rhinos, Tigers
and Elephants. According to U.S., illegal trade in endangered
wildlife products, including rhino horns, elephant ivory, leather, and turtle
shells, is estimated to worth more than $7 billion- $10 billion annually. These
figures does not include illegal logging and illegal fishing, which accounts for
an additional $30 billion – $100 billion annually and $10 billion- $23 billion
annually, respectively. Each year, millions and millions of endangered plants
and animals are being caught or harvested from the wild and then sold as pets,
food, leather, ornamental plants, and medicine.
While a huge deal of this trade is legal and is not harming wild populations
majorly, a worryingly large proportion is illegal — and threatens the survival
of thousands of endangered species in the wildlife.
Wildlife crime is a big
business. They are being by dangerous international networks all across the
world. In fact, wildlife and various animal parts are trafficked to the extent
that of illegal drugs and arms. By very nature of these, it is almost
impossible to obtain exact figures for the value of illegal wildlife trade
across the world. Experts at the wildlife trade monitoring network – TRAFFIC,
estimate that the aforementioned trade runs into hundreds of millions of
a response to these frightening facts, representatives from around the world
united in ratifying the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to protect the world’s wild plant and animal
species by regulating their use in commercial trade.As of 2016, there are 183
signatories to CITES. CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in
1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN (The World Conservation Union). The text of the Convention was finally agreed at a
meeting of representatives of 80 countries in Washington, D.C., the United
States of America, on 3 March 1973, and on 1 July 1975 CITES entered in force.
The original of the Convention was deposited with the Depositary Government in
English, French, Russian and Spanish languages,
each version being equally authentic.
since the convention came into force, more than 35,000 species of such
endangered animals and plants have been listed on the appendices of the
convention. It includes from tigers and elephants to mahogany and orchids. Its primary
aim is to ensure that the international trade of wild animals and plants mentioned
in such appendices does not threaten their survival.