Keynsham Voice June Column, World environment day.

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In case you missed the Keynsham Voice this month you can read our column here:

Every year on June 5th the United Nations marks World Environment Day. Established in 1972, for the past 43 years it has been a vehicle to highlight global environmental threats, from acid rain to climate change.

This year the focus is on the illegal wildlife trade, which is pushing many species to the brink of extinction.

Every year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organised international criminal networks driven by profit and greed.  These networks can threaten peace and security in affected countries, and damage the livelihoods of local communities who depend on tourism. It also severely affects local biodiversity.

Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa. Three rhinos are killed every day, and the Western Black Rhino has already become extinct. Great apes are already locally extinct in several African nations.

But less well known animals are also under severe threat. Pangolins – scaly anteaters – are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. This rampant illegal international trade in almost all its body parts, from scales to skin to meat, is principally driven by demand from China.

And it’s not just animals. Plants are illegally traded too. The rare and beautiful Madagascan rosewood is highly prized in Asia, and suffers from widespread and uncontrolled illegal logging. It’s a very slow growing tree, so demand is rapidly outstripping supply, and there is a real threat of extinction.

This trade needs to be stopped. Politicians, police and customs can make the biggest difference, but individuals can also play a part by finding out more about the issues at

https://wildfor.life/ or at http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade

And when we go on holiday we can all ask questions and get the facts before we buy wildlife or plant products. By doing that, we can help reduce demand for this illegal trade. Together we can beat this terrible crime against wildlife.

Find out more about Transition Keynsham at http://transitionkeynsham.org/

Published in Keynsham Voice, June 2016, www.keynshamvoice.co.uk

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