By Tabitha Oeri

The World Animal Protection (WAP) recently launched an interactive map highlighting wildlife routes and the cruelty animals go through while in the wild. The launch is aimed at ending wildlife trade in the world.

The most targeted animals are the Ball Pythons in West Africa, African Grey Parrots in Central Africa, the Traditional medicine markets in Benin and the Lion bones trade in South Africa. The launch took place in virtually on March 3, 2021 coinciding with the World Wildlife Day.

Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection said the interactive map shows wildlife trade routes globally and the dangers it has if not stopped.

Under this year’s world wildlife day theme dubbed: Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet; Kabesiime hinted at the African continent as home to some of the world’s most majestic and iconic wildlife.

However, she noted that it is also home to some of the world’s cruelest, dangerous, and exploitative wildlife trading. Some of these exploitative activities are criminal related while others are legally authorized. Nevertheless, all animals are cruel.

Therefore, Kabesiime desires is for action be taken to end the global wildlife trade so as to safeguard animal welfare, biodiversity, and to protect our health.

“We are urging people not to buy, own, or breed a wild animal for entertainment, for traditional Medicine or as an exotic pet. A life in captivity is a world away from a life in the wild,” Kabesiime said.

This has been seconded in the interactive map which notes that every single day, thousands of wild animals are poached or farmed and sold into the global multi-billion-dollar wild animal trade with very little regard for their welfare.

The map further records that wild animals are deprived off their natural habitat which offers them the freedom, space, wild interaction, and diet.

Wildlife trade is being practiced every single day posing a huge threat to animal extinction in the world. Not to forget that past exploitations of wildlife have been the primary cause of spreading zoonotic diseases such as like COVID-19, SARS, Ebola and MERS pinpoints the interactive map.

On the other hand, the United Nations (UN) also emphasized in a blog on the significance of this year’s World Wildlife Day theme : Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet noting on how forests give a livelihood to many communities, especially indigenous and local communities.

They focused on the symbiotic relationship that exists between the forest, forest-dwelling wildlife species, ecosystem services and people, stressing on the indigenous people who currently manage around 28 percent of the forest land.

In this regard UN introduced forest wildlife management models and practices in celebrating the livelihoods of forest-dwellers and also promoted traditional practices and knowledge to further attain the set SDGs.

World Wildlife Day was selected to be marked on March 3 annually by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2013 at its 68th session. This date was chosen on the basis of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which was signed on March 3, 1973.

“Every day wildlife trade grows bigger and more dangers and future catastrophes are posed, more disease outbreaks are inevitable if the trade is not ended. We are at a biodiversity tipping point. So, we must act now before it is too late. Ending wildlife trade is the sure way,” the World Animal Protection team noted.