According to a United Nations Environment Programme report, illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife derivatives is worth between $7 billion and $23 billion annually, and is driving many species to the brink of extinction. In Africa, this includes iconic species such as the elephant and rhino, Both Sinovas and Thomas agree that wildlife trade can be a real boon, both for the countries involved, and potentially for the species too — but only if certain regulatory and enforcement challenges can be met. Wildlife trade is any sale or exchange of wild animal and plant resources by people. Wildlife trade is an issue at the heart of the tension between biodiversity conservation and human development. Whether for medicine, construction, food or culture, a huge proportion of our trade, economy and way of life is entirely reliant upon wildlife products. For communities empowered by effective and equitable governance systems, the benefits derived from trading wildlife products can catalyse community investments in nature conservation, law enforcement and stewardship of wildlife. Wildlife trade can enhance the way societies and communities value nature, tipping the balance in favour of protecting it and against converting it for ‘economically productive’ uses. The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) has a negative impact on African economies and their development. It destroys ecosystems and biodiversity, undermines institutions, and channels scarce state resources away from critical social programmes. In Africa, Elephant poaching alone is estimated to cost between £3-5 billion per year in lost natural capital.
INTRODUCTION: Illegal trade of wildlife has been recognised as an important driver of biodiversity loss. In many quarters the use of legal markets has been
Trading Nature: the contribution of wildlife trade management to sustainable livelihoods and the Millennium Development Goals (PDF, 3.1 MB) shows that wildlife trade offers opportunities to the poor and benefits to local communities, but these are threatened when illegal or unsustainable trade is allowed to flourish. The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) significantly impacts African economies by destroying and corroding natural, human and social capital stocks. This hinders the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has an impact on national budgets. NGOs and governments now face a race against time to reduce demand for wildlife trade, particularly in Asia, as well as to equip those on the frontline to fight a well-armed enemy. Even going by the lowest estimates, wildlife crime is currently the 5th largest illicit transnational activity in the world, after counterfeiting and the illegal trafficking of drugs, people, and oil. Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar business involving the unlawful harvest of and trade in live animals and plants or parts and products derived from them. Wildlife is traded as skins, leather goods or souvenirs; as food or traditional medicine; as pets, and in many other forms.
Illegal trade in renewable nat- ural resources has many more financial, economic , social, and political impacts that are not captured in the Table 1 financial figures.
The illegal ivory trade feeds terrorism and drains Africa of some of its greatest assets. Wildlife poaching has a huge impact on Africa, but our leaders are silent economic and social