The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and Pacific today marked International Tiger Day with a call for urgent action to protect tigers and combat the illegal trade in wildlife.
With only a few thousand of this iconic species remaining in the wild, mainly in Asia, the United Nations is reiterating its call for zero tolerance for wildlife crime during its 2016 Wild for Life campaign. The campaign aims to mobilize millions of people around the world to take personal action to end the illegal trade in wildlife.
The biggest threat to the tiger is this trade, with the animal’s body parts sought for trophies and medicinal purposes. Their shrinking habitat, human-wildlife conflict and climate change are also growing threats. The threat was highlighted by the discovery of 70 dead tiger cubs, tiger skins, talismans and other wildlife parts in a Buddhist temple in Thailand earlier this year. Wildlife crime undermines national development by diverting billions of dollars of resources to organized international crime cartels.
“Today, as we mark the International Tiger Day, the United Nations is calling on everyone to stop wildlife trafficking, through the Wild for Life campaign,” said Isabelle Louis, Acting Regional Director and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
“Everyone has a role to play in stopping the shameful illegal trade in wildlife, be they police, customs officials, lawmakers, community leaders, prosecutors, judges, businesses or citizens. Decisive action against the illegal trade in wildlife is needed to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Addressing the trade will require coordinated action, working across source, transit and destination countries, in the most strategic hotspots across the supply chain. Greater public awareness is essential for bringing pressure on governments to enforce laws and, most importantly, reduce the demand for illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products. The commendable action by authorities in Thailand that led to the discovery of the dead tiger cubs showed the need for constant vigilance by wildlife law enforcement authorities to the threat posed by traffickers.
About Wild for Life
Launched at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi in May 2016, Wild for Life aims to mobilise millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade. The campaign is run by UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).