UN says as Illegal ivory trade comes down, pangolin trafficking booms
VIENNA (AUSTRIA) – A UN report on wildlife crime based on four years’ data said on Friday that the illegal global trade in ivory has come down while the trafficking of pangolins has visibly increased.
National bans on selling ivory, particularly China’s in 2017, seem to have helped further lessen ivory trafficking after it peaked around 2011-2013, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its World Wildlife Crime Report, last published in 2016.
At the same time, the trafficking of pangolins – a reclusive, nocturnal mammal covered in scales made use of in traditional Chinese medicine, has gone up, the UNODC said.
UNODC research chief Angela Me told, “The World Wildlife Crime Report 2020 has some good news and some bad news.”
“We see some shrinking in some markets, particularly the ivory and the rhino (horn) market, but we actually see huge increases in other markets, like the market of illicit trafficking of pangolins, in European eels but also in tiger parts and also in rosewood,” she added.
The UNODC added that the price of illegal ivory in China fell by more than half between 2014 and 2018.
The annual income generated by ivory trafficking between 2016 and 2018 at $400 million, as estimated by the UNODC.
Pangolin scales seized, mainly sourced in Africa, increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018, thereby drifting away from the trafficking of pangolin meat, mainly seized in Asia. The UNODC said in that time 185 tons of scales were got hold of, for which it would have taken the killing of roughly 370,000 animals.
It said, “They are now arguably the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world.”
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.