|Web-chat with Jeff Corwin at U.S Embassy Zambia|
On the 4th December, 2012, I was invited by the United States of America Embassy-Zambia to be part of the Wildlife Conservation Web-chat with Jeff Corwin. Jeff Corwin is an American Wildlife Biologist and Conservationist best known as the host of Animal Planet television programs. The institutions present at this event were Youth Image Solutions, WWF-Zambia, ZEMA, YALI and Nature Zambia.
During the web-chat with Jeff Corwin, I realized that many of us are here on earth because protecting wildlife is a matter of protecting our planet’s natural beauty. We see it as a stewardship responsibility for us and this generation and future generations to come. But it is also a national security issue, a public health issue, and an economic security issue that is critical to each and every individual in each country. Unfortunately, we all contribute to the continued demand for illegal animal goods. Wildlife might be targeted and killed across Africa and Asia, but their furs, tusks, bones and horns are sold all over the world. Smuggled goods from poached animals find their way to Europe, Australia, China, and the United States.
It is estimated that, the flow of Ivory from Africa to East Africa has been at 72 tons per year, worth $62 million, and equivalent to 7,000 elephants. The price of powdered rhino horn has reached $20,000 to $35,000 per Kilo, and Tiger skins retailed for up to $20,000 in 2009. So, if you love animals, if you want to see a more secure world, if you want our economy not to be corrupt by this kind of behavior, there is so much we can do together. After all, the world’s wildlife, both on land and in our waters is such precious resource, but it is also a limited one. It cannot be manufactures and once it’s gone, it cannot be replenished. And those who benefit illegally are just not undermining our borders and our economies; they are truly stealing from the next generation. So we have to work together to stop them and ensure a sustainable future for our wildlife, the People who live with them and the people who appreciate them everywhere.
Therefore,we need our governments, civil society, businesses, scientist, and activities to come together to educate people about the harms of wildlife trafficking.
- We need law enforcement personnel to prevent poachers from preying on wildlife.
- We need trade experts to truck the movements for goods and help enforce existing trade laws.
- We need finance experts to study and help undermine the black markets that deal in wildlife
- We need to reach individuals and convince them to make right choices about the goods they purchase
It is also evident that Wildlife Trafficking relies on porous borders, corrupt officials and strong networks of organized crime, all of which undermine our mutual security. In this regards, it can be of interest to all Zambians if the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) can produce an assessment of the impact of large-scale wildlife trafficking on our security so we can fully understand what we are up against.
The questions are;
- How can local communities help fight against poachers and how hard is it to fight against poachers?
- How best can the sense of ownership be restored to communities living with wildlife?
- What advice can be given to young people in Zambia to ensure that we develop interest in wildlife conservation?
- What programs has the Zambian government and Zambia Wildlife Authority put in place to protect the wildlife?
- What is WWF Zambia and other conservation organizations doing to protect wildlife against these threats?
For further information visit: http://conx.state.gov/digital-diplomacy
''WILDLIFE CRIME IS A SERIOUS CRIME, TOGETHER WE CAN - AND WILL END WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING''