New York, 29 July 2022 (TDI): UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on International Tiger Day 2022, is working to address the illegal trade of wildlife to secure all animal populations.

The United Nations (UN) highlights the plight of the tiger population in part because of wildlife trafficking.

Today there are more tigers in captivity and fewer in wild forests and the world’s tiger population has decreased by 95%. The same is happening with all the wildlife around the world.

Challenges to Wildlife

Unexpected challenges to wildlife are currently being faced by the world. The amount of natural area for animals has significantly diminished due to habitat loss from farming, mining, and new urban expansions.

Human demand for wildlife products threatens almost 1 million animals and plants extinction in the world. The illegal wildlife trade continues to represent a serious threat to biodiversity, ecosystems, and the public.

This, in turn, is causing many new diseases that are linked to animal products, both domestic as well as wild.

International Tiger Day 

International Tiger Day is celebrated across the world on 29 July every year, so that all the states can raise awareness for tiger conservation. The purpose of the day is to create a global network devoted to the conservation of tigers and their natural habitats.

According to the latest research and data, there has been an increase in the number of tigers, and now The Total Number of Wild Tigers Worldwide is 5,574.

By providing tigers with a secure and flourishing home, the states and individuals also protect other animals and forests.

International Tiger Day raises awareness of the conservation of the endangered species so that the tigers are also conserved. In this way, the challenges that world wildlife faces can be reduced.

Efforts of UNEP for Wildlife Conservation

UNEP hosted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife, Fauna, and Flora (CITES), which governs trade in some 35,000 plants and 5,800 animal species.

UNEP used three ways to address the illegal trade of wildlife. The creation of funds to assist wildlife management and conservation, and sustainable trade can secure the long-term existence of wildlife.

In a joint effort, UNEP and the CITES Secretariat assist nations and territories in enhancing their environmental governance to comply with CITES regulations intended to stop the illegal trade in wildlife.

Animals that are unlawfully owned or traded are seized. Trade in specimens that violate the Convention is also prohibited. Moreover, to stop wildlife trafficking and illegal trade both locally and globally, UNEP is collaborating with CITES.

It works to enhance the implementation of national legislation and supports international cooperation between nations to handle transboundary problems with trafficking goods.

Corruption is a severe issue that hinders efforts to stop illegal wildlife trafficking on a global scale. For this reason, UNEP supports the development of the rule of law and the fight against wildlife crime by law enforcement for judges and customs officers.

UNEP, through its Wild for Life campaign, also increases public awareness of the social, economic, and environmental effects of the illicit trade.

By doing this, it hopes to support global initiatives to increase supply and decrease demand for wildlife items produced illegally.

Likewise, human activities add to climate change and habitat loss which transformed the land and seas. Destruction of habitat also increases human exposure to zoonotic infections which are the illnesses brought on by contact with animals.

UNEP’s Frontiers 2016 Report on Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern was published in 2016 which included a chapter on emerging zoonotic diseases such as bird flu, Zika virus disease, Rift Valley fever, and many other such diseases.

The report said, “In the last two decades, emerging diseases have had direct costs of more than US$100 billion; if these outbreaks had become human pandemics, the losses would have amounted to several trillion dollars.”

Due to the efforts of UNEP, substantial advancements have been made in securing high-level support for environmental governance on a global scale. Political will also be generating to increase effect at the national level to protect wildlife.