Lately, there has been much publicity about the concern over the killing of exotic wildlife for animal parts that fetch higher values than gold or heroin. In The Guardian on Saturday John Scanlon, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), spoke of the need to have harsher penalties for criminals involved in this lucrative trade.
The latest CITES summit, the last was three years ago, is now on till 14 March 2013, with delegates from around 170 countries discussing issues such as rhino trophy hunting, elephant ivory trade, over-fishing, the trade in turtles and animal skins and the felling of precious tropical hardwoods. Visit the CITES website here to learn more http://www.cites.org/
The consequences are devastating for both the wildlife and people.
In 1979 1.3 million elephants roamed the planet, now that number has been slashed to about 400,000 as the demand for ivory, mainly from the Chinese, continues. The ban on ivory trading was enforced in 1990 but with little impact as crime syndicates and rebel militia moved in to ‘organise’ the slaughter.
Paradoxically, the USA is joined by China at the summit in asking for the trade in turtles to be restricted to contain the decimation of the turtle population. In Asia turtles are popular as pets or as food, particularly vulnerable are eight soft shell species and thirty freshwater species. Other critical issues are the hunting of polar bears for pelts – only 20,000 bears are estimated to be left, primarily in Canada, which is also the only country that permits the slaughter, and the killing of rhinos in Africa for trophies. 745 rhinos were shot for their horns in 2012 – the horns fetch high black-market prices in Vietnam. CITES officials have surprisingly said, that if managed legally the culling of rhinos could offer a sustainable option for conservation of the species.
Here’s the link to find out more about the ground breaking ban agreed at CITES on 3 March where Thailand said it would ban its ivory trade. WWF sent out a petition and 1.4 million of us signed it and it actually made a difference.
Albert Einstein expressed it well when he said “ Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Let’s all look deeper and maybe we could recover the relationship of mutualism.
Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species biologically interact in a relationship in which each individual derives a fitnessbenefit (i.e., increased or improved reproductive output). Similar interactions within a species are known as co-operation. Mutualism can be contrasted with interspecific competition, in which each species experiences reduced fitness, and exploitation, or parasitism, in which one species benefits at the expense of the other. Mutualism is a type of symbiosis. Symbiosis is a broad category, defined to include relationships that are mutualistic, parasitic, or commensal. Mutualism is only one type. (Extract from Wikipedia)