Consuming our way to extinction: trade in rare and exotic animals

Natives of Laos, China, and other Asian nations have taken advantage of the new road infrastructure to intensify the disappearance of jungle creatures large and small. His partners in “crimes” against nature are European nations and American consumers who buy and consume or dress the meats and black market products harvested in large quantities.

According to the United Nations, the global trade in frog meat has exploded in the last 20 years. France and the United States are the two largest importers, and France has imported between 2,500 and 4,000 tonnes each year since 1995. Indonesia exports more than 5,000 tonnes a year, mainly to Europe. Frog legs are also very popular in Asian cuisine.

Until 25 years ago, hundreds of tigers roamed large swaths of relatively unspoiled jungle in Laos. But in recent years, particularly the past decade, development, deforestation and a booming wildlife trade have reduced Laos’s tiger population to 50 or fewer individuals, according to Johnson and other scientists. The main driver of the rapid depletion of tigers and many other species of birds, animals and reptiles is the increasing influx from neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and especially China, where a vast new market for wildlife products has emerged.

Laos is the latest front in the fight to curb a clandestine global trade that kills tens of millions of wild birds, mammals and reptiles each year to supply multi-billion dollar markets around the world.

And Europe are among the biggest buyers of elephant ivory and tiger and frog parts, monkey and game animals (commonly known as bushmeat). all over the world in Southeast Asia, the Russian Far East, Africa, and even North America.

Rapid development and increasing influx create a demand for more commercial hunting and capture; an increase in international trade; the emergence of increasingly sophisticated smuggling networks; an influx of weapons and technology; and easier access to wilderness areas due to road construction by extractive industries. The opening up of the Laotian economy, like other native economies of the world, put a price on practically all animals, from river insects to tigers.

The overexploitation of wildlife for trade must be addressed in a way that is respectful, sensitive, effective and fair and honest to the local population. This is a large and delicate educational and economic challenge that has the potential to open the way for foreign investment that has recently turned into a flood. Like other forest-dependent people, rural Laos have long relied on hunting to supplement their rice-dominated diet with protein. But the opening of the economy put a price on the head of practically all animals, from river insects to tigers. This, coupled with a lack of education and wildlife preservation, combined with an abundance of weapons left over from years of war, gave hunters the incentive and tools to turn rich biodiversity into cash.

This scenario has been repeated around the world many times a day and the result both on land, sea and in the air of the world has been impoverished as these animals, plants, insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians remain silent because we have chosen this consumer. mentality, but we can and are making better decisions.

Everyone can help.

Refusing to buy, eat or use products or use cosmetics made with wild animals at the expense of the biodiversity of our beloved planet.

Yes, we can save our world.

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