Despite being in danger of extinction, endangered plants and animals can still be traded worldwide. There is a specific agreement relating to this trade: the Washington Convention (CITES) officially regulates the international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora. Every three years, the Conference of the Parties meets to make decisions on the trade in species; namely, which species should be better protected and which should be more freely marketed. The next Conference of the Parties will take place in 2022 in Costa Rica.
In the space of seven years, a third of African elephants were wiped out! The results of the large-scale African elephant census, carried out in 2016, revealed this. The main reasons for this tragedy are:
1. Poaching that is further fuelled by an insatiable global greed for ivory.
2. Loss of habitat as people continue to invade areas of untouched nature.
3. The trade in live elephants for zoos and circuses all over the world.
4. The ongoing practice of uncontrolled trophy hunting.
If nothing is done to fight hunting or to combat the displacement of these gentle giants, there is a risk that African elephants will become extinct in the wild, in less than 10 years!
Global fish stocks are under threat because of the pollution of the oceans, global warming and overfishing. The natural habitats of the oceans are disappearing at an increasing rate. At the same time, animals are being snatched from the wild for private and public aquariums and this has a dramatic impact. There are around 1,000 public aquariums and millions of private aquarium owners worldwide. The aquarium industry can only meet the growing demand for marine animals by capturing them in the wild. At the moment, the international trade in coral fish is virtually unregulated – there are hardly any requirements for capturing, handling, transporting or keeping them. Right now it is not possible to monitor, or check, the trade in marine ornamental fish for the aquarium industry, or evaluate its impact.