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Wild and Wonderful Creatures

Wildlife trafficking is one of the most lucrative forms of organized crime in the world that directly affects the state of our planet, but also our health

ZAGREB – Today's World Wildlife Day is celebrated under the theme "Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet", as a way to highlight the central role of forests, forest species, and ecosystem services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, and particularly of indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.
 
The celebration of this day is also an ideal opportunity to reflect on the establishment of a sustainable model of coexistence for people and nature following the UN sustainable development goals. Wildlife trade is mentioned in several goals, urging decision-makers to adopt participatory, evidence-based approaches. This would ensure that the future use and trade of wild species is safe, environmentally sustainable, and socially just.
 
"By cooperating with state attorneys, inspectors, nature conservationists, rangers, police, customs officials, and representatives of relevant authorities, we want to put an end to illegal wildlife trade and combat criminal activities related to wildlife. Legal and illegal trade of live wild and domestic animals creates new opportunities for diseases transmitted from animals to humans (zoonoses) and increases the risk of pandemics, such as the one we are still living in", affirms Andrea Solić, Wildlife Programme Manager in WWF Adria. She added that WWF launched the LIFE SWiPE project last year, aiming to increase the number of successfully prosecuted wildlife crimes.
 
Currently, crimes against the environment and nature are the fourth most lucrative activity of organized crime in the world, after trafficking in human beings, drugs, and weapons. A 2014 report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Interpol identified €214 billion in damage from crimes against the environment and nature, including incalculable damage to our planet caused by a significant reduction in biodiversity and the complete extinction of certain plant and animal species.
 
According to the last Living Planet Report, since 1970,  the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles has decreased by a worrying 68%, mainly due to unsustainable land use and destruction of forests which have been converted to new urban areas or land for large-scale agricultural production.
 
"We need to be brave and ambitious and work together at these unprecedented times if we are to live in a world where we still have tigers and pandas, and all other wild and wonderful creatures. We can reverse the negative trend of biodiversity loss by the end of the decade", emphasizes Solic with a call to encourage decision-makers for joint action by giving their Voice for the Planet.
Giant panda

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