Report highlights global phenomenon of wildlife poaching

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African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks. Photo: UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

Wildlife poaching and the illegal trade of species not only pose environmental dangers but also potentially fuel conflict.

That's according to the first global assessment of wildlife crime, published this Tuesday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The World Wildlife Crime Report calls for shared responsibility to combat what it labels "a truly global phenomenon."

Janie Cangelosi reports.

The World Wildlife Crime Report shows the "extensive involvement" of transnational organized criminal groups in this trade.

It builds on information from a database documenting more than 164,000 seizures from 120 countries.

However, the authors say an accurate figure on their monetary value "would be near impossible."

Yuri Fedetov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cited the example of "iconic species" such as tigers and African elephants whose numbers are dwindling at the hands of poachers.

But he stressed that the threat of wildlife crime goes beyond these "majestic animals."

As the report states, products derived from poaching and illegal trade in flora and fauna are often "hidden in plain sight."

They include clothing and cosmetics, to furniture, food and even pets.

The report calls for collective action to close gaps in legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice systems to reduce the impact of trafficking on wildlife.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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