2013 was a particularly bad year for wildlife crime. As reported by The Guardian, by September of last year, 704 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa, and it is currently estimated that only one third of forest elephants will remain within the next decade. In addition, because of how lucrative wildlife crime can be, it actually escalated in 2013 from a conservation problem to an international security threat because of the amount of funds international crime organizations and terrorist groups were able to earn through trading wildlife products. While some of the most egregious crimes against wildlife are committed abroad against elephants, rhinos, and tigers, the fact that animal products can fetch lucrative prices, often right here in the United States, contributes to the problem. This reality has led to recent federal legislation to halt the import of elephant ivory to the United States, according to National Geographic.Hopefully, Wildleaks represents another step towards ending the needless killing of animals for profit. According to Wildleaks project leader Andrea Costa, the goal of the project is increase vigilance with regard to wildlife crimes. “Wildlife crimes very often go undetected and unchallenged when people do not speak up about them, and whistleblowers can play a crucial role in fighting back, creating awareness and supporting justice,” said Costa.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), pet owners in the United States spent $60.28 billion on their furry friends in 2015. That number is expected to rise by more than $2 billion in 2016.
Here’s to hoping for swift results and justice for wildlife.