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UNODC: pangolins are most trafficked wild mammal in the world

VIENNA, JULY 10 – The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its World Wildlife Crime Report, which says that wildlife trafficking is not just a threat to biodiversity but also to human health. Many animals that are butchered and sold illegally have the potential for spreading diseases to people. The report notes that pangolins, which were identified as a potential source of the coronaviruses, continue to be the most trafficked wild mammal in the world with seizures of pangolin scales having increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018.

Zoonotic diseases represent up to 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases and include SARS-CoV-2 that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The products offered from the trafficked species for human consumption, by definition escape any hygiene or sanitary control: as such, they pose even greater risks of infectious diseases. The report shows that nearly 6,000 species have been seized over the past decade, including not only mammals but reptiles, corals, birds, and fish. No single country was identified as the source of more than 9 per cent of the total number of seized shipments. Meanwhile, the report identifies traffickers from 150 nationalities, showing that this is indeed a global issue.

“Transnational organized crime networks are reaping the profits of wildlife crime, but it is the poor who are paying the price,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which produced the report. Besides pangolins, demand for tiger products has also risen in recent years, as well as for tropical hardwood timber. The report also says that the sale of illegal wildlife products has shifted to online platforms and encrypted messaging apps as traffickers have found new ways to connect with potential buyers.

You can read the full report online and on the UNODC’s website. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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