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UN adopts first-ever resolution to combat wildlife crime

De Horned Rhino. PHOTO: www.defenceweb.co.za

De Horned Rhino. PHOTO: www.defenceweb.co.za

The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution aiming to combat illegal wildlife trafficking by calling on countries to make poaching and wildlife trade “a serious crime” and harmonise legislation to allow for transnational cooperation.

The text, which is the first stand-alone UN resolution on wildlife crime, not only leads to the depletion of biodiversity but is also liked to international organised crime.

The non-binding resolution, co-sponsored by Germany and Gabon, aimed to stop the practice globally by focusing on both the supply and the demand sides.
It called on countries to target poachers and develop alternative sources of livelihood for communities.

The resolution urged countries where wildlife products were sold to strengthen their legislation and better inform the public to drive down demand.
Poaching of rhinos and elephants in African countries has reached critical levels in recent year leading to the possibility of local or, in some cases, global extinction.

Rhino horn which is primarily made of keratin, a protein also found in hair and fingernails, is in high demand in Asia.

It is not only believed to boost sexual potency but also used in traditional medicine to cure cancer and other illnesses.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, an estimated 30,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year.



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