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Wildlife Crimes are Wild Crimes against Life

Crimes against nature and the environment are the fourth most lucrative activity of organized crime in the world, after human, drugs and weapon trafficking. These crimes cause immeasurable damage to our planet, bringing many species to the brink of extinction.

In order to highlight the importance and the real impact of crimes against nature and the environment, WWF launched a campaign today - Wildlife Crimes are Wild Crimes against Life. Wildlife crimes, such as illegal killing, poisoning, trapping and illegal trade of species constitute a major threat to many of the planet’s species. In fact, unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade and other types of wildlife crimes are the second-biggest direct threat to species, after habitat loss. 

The campaign aims to draw social and political attention to the seriousness of wildlife crimes. Even though we most often hear about poaching and trafficking of exotic species in places far from Europe, these crimes happen here as well, endangering the biodiversity of the European continent.

Date shells and turtles are some of the European species that are often trafficked, while many protected types of sturgeon are frequently illegally fished out to be sold on the black market. Bears and wolves are often victims of poaching and many species of birds are hurt and killed by poisoning.

"Even though many species are officially legally protected, this itself doesn't stop illegal activities such as trafficking and poaching. Birdlife International reports show that on a global level, 25 million birds are killed annually while migrating towards Europe and 71 species of European birds are currently endangered. Wildlife crimes such as poisoning and poaching can bring species to extinction," says Snježana Malić-Limari from WWF Adria.

With this campaign, WWF aims to raise awareness and improve knowledge and understanding of the real impact wildlife crimes have on our planet, its biodiversity, and people themselves. According to the UNEP and INTERPOL report, crimes against nature and the environment cost us globally up to $258 billion every year, and are frequently connected to other serious crimes, such as fraud, money laundering and corruption. The real consequences and frequency of these crimes are severely underestimated, as they're often seen as minor offenses. 

"We aim to discourage, and ultimately reduce the number of wildlife crimes and we believe this can only be achieved through improved education, increased capacities, and better collaboration between the government bodies, experts, and the general public," says Malić-Limari.

The campaign is part of the EU LIFE project SWiPE: Successful Wildlife Crime Prosecution in Europe, and will be disseminated by WWF, Fauna and Flora International, and TRAFFIC at a European level under #StopWildlifeCrime. We all need to join forces and work together to put an end to these wild crimes against life.

*National co-financing of the project is provided by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, Office for Cooperation with NGOs.
**The views expressed in this text are the sole responsibility of WWF Adria and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Government of the Republic of Croatia - Office for Cooperation with NGOs, or other co-financiers.  


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