TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2015) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) urges the global community to respect, celebrate and most importantly to take action to protect animals from wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade on the second annual World Wildlife Day started by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
"We all want to protect wildlife, but not everyone can be on the front lines helping animals directly," said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO. "Don't let that deter you from taking action and speaking out for animals on World Wildlife Day. Every voice matters and together we do make a difference."
Animals are exploited all over the world-from small pangolins to mighty elephants-for monetary gain. The global industry of illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be more than $19 billion USD. In some extreme cases, profits from this trade are being used to fund ongoing acts of violence on humans and trade of other illegal goods and services.
The numbers are tragic:
- Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed for its ivory to be carved into trinkets no one needs.
- Poaching of rhinos in South Africa has increased nearly 10,000% since 2007 for unproven medicinal uses.
- 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins - only so the elite can enjoy soup at luxurious banquets.
- Less than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild in part because their bones and pelts fetch high prices for dubious medicinal purposes and decorations.
- By 2050, if nothing changes, polar bear populations will decline by two-thirds.
- 34,000 whales are killed each year despite a global ban on whaling.
"We are at a tipping point for so many species when it comes to the illegal wildlife trade. Unless we act now it may be too late," said Kelvin Alie, IFAW Wildlife Trade Program Director. "So take action today."
Join IFAW to help protect wildlife:
Teach your children. Share this video of kids around the world voicing their concern for animal protection.
Let your government leaders know that you are concerned. Visit IFAW's Get Involved page and take action.
Don't buy goods that result from wildlife trade. Take the Think Twice pledge: Don't buy wildlife souvenirs.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com.