The international trade in wildlife is the 4th largest form of trade in the world, as much as USD $ 10-20 billion per year only behind; drugs, counterfeits and arms. The issue we face today is that drugs, counterfeits and arms can all be manufactured. Unfortunately we only have a limited supply of wildlife before it is gone forever!!
We are currently loosing approximately 3000 great apes from the wild per year. Along with bush meat consumption and the use of medicinal and cultural ceremonies, Chimpanzees in particular are being smuggled from the wild to parts of the Middle East as pets and status symbols. In order for one baby chimpanzee to be sent to the Middle East, their entire family will need to be killed for the trade to take place. This could be up to 10-15 adults slaughtered in order for the traders to get their hands on 1 baby chimp!
The poaching and trade of Rhino horn will continue to happen as long as there is a demand in China and Vietnam for the use of horn in wealthy society. Poaching gangs and syndicates will work in areas of weakness with corruptible officials, one such region that has been hit extremely hard in the most recent years is the Kruger national park in South Africa.
In the 1960’s the wildlife tourism model started to develop, ensuring that tourists were not destroying the wildlife they had come to see ‘Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.’