By Bob Aston
Illegal trade in wildlife threatens to drive thousands of species of wild animals and plants to extinction. This was the key message as the World Environment Day was marked on June 5, 2016 across the World.
This year’s celebration focused on the illegal trade of wildlife with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) urging individuals to use their “spheres of influence” to help end the illegal trade in wildlife by engaging in the “Go Wild for Life” campaign and taking action to help safeguard species under threat for future generations.
|World Environment Day celebration procession in Nanyuki.TRF/NEMA-Kenya|
At the Central Park in Nanyuki Town, Dr. Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary for state Department of Natural Resources in the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Laikipia Governor H.E Joshua Irungu, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA-Kenya) representatives and other guests led the celebrations in Laikipia County.
The celebration was particularly significant as Laikipia has the second highest number of wild animals outside protected area in Kenya. Despite this, confrontation between humans and wildlife is common in the County as wildlife particularly elephants migratory routes have been cut off by human settlement.
During the ceremony, Dr. Mwakima reiterated the Country’s strong commitment to combat wildlife crime. She noted that on April 30, 2016, the Country burned over 100 tons of ivory and horns to demonstrate its commitment to stop the trade in products of endangered wildlife species. This was the largest burn of illegal wildlife products in history.
She noted that this year’s celebrations called for a more world efforts to stop illegal trade in wildlife in order to save lives of species of wild animals and plants such as elephants, rhino’s, orangutans, sea turtles, pangolins, rosewoods, helmeted hornbills, and tigers.
The illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity. This year’s celebration was an opportunity for everyone to realize not only his or her responsibility but also to show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.
Engaging in the “Go Wild for Life” campaign to end illegal trade in wildlife is seen as a way of protecting endangered species of animal and plants as the campaign addresses greed, fashion, ignorance, indifference, investment, corruption, pseudo medicinal use, and cultural belief.
According to UNEP, the effects of wildlife trade include the destruction of natural capital in which many nations could build healthy tourism industries, the spread of corruption, and the undermining of the rule of the law all around the world.
The United Nations and its partners have resolved to tackle illegal trade in wildlife by setting clear targets to put an end to poaching in the Sustainable Development Goals that 193 UN member states adopted in September 2015.
World Environment Day celebration began in 1972. Over the years, it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach. The day is celebrated every year on 5th June to raise the global awareness about the importance of the healthy and green environment in the human lives, to solve environmental issues by implementing some positive environmental actions as well as to protect nature.