Tick – tock

These days people trade more than ever before, barriers are being reduced thanks to WTO, cooperation within EU and globalization.

cites logoCITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is a special kind of cooperation between countries. It is a multilateral treaty and its main goal is to protect endangered species of animals and plants and to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. It also works as one of the non-tariff barriers of international trade.

Roughly 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are protected by CITES against over-exploitation through international trade. It does not include only animals that are alive, but trophies, meat, bags, medicine and products from leather as well.

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States, which are parties of CITES (more than 160). Greenland as a part of Denmark is included.

Slovak republic joined the convention in 1992. We adopted the procedures that are applied to the import and export of endangered animals and plants.For this purpose animals and plants are listed in the three Appendices. The species are grouped in the Appendices according to the level of how threatened they are. Among the main tasks and challenges of the government belongs prevention and keeping public informed.

People travel all the time. Whether it is on business or just a vacation they tend to buy souvenirs. However, it often happens that people don’t know what they are allowed to bring. Therefore a display of protected species has been installed in the airport in Košice.

Information about the endangered status of many species is spreading nowadays more than ever. Many animals are facing immediate danger. For one we have to mention rhinos. There are only few left. The situation has gotten very serious. Rhinos are to say “hot commodity” on black market. Poachers hunt down rhinos and kill them in order to get their horns. The price of horns range from 40,000 to 50,000 EUR per kilogram and a horn of a grown up rhino is about 6 kg. The reason for all this slaughter is based on a deep-rooted, ancient belief that is nothing more than myth. Some cultures still believe that powder from horn can be used as medicine to treat for example a fever. Rhino horn has no beneficial medical properties. It is like consuming a fingernail.

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However, rhinos are still being hunt down. It has gotten to such extent that there is only one last male northern white rhino left in the world. He lives 200 km north of Nairobi in Kenya, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There is a 24/7 watch provided by armed guards. For safety reasons his horn has been cut off.

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“Nothing we do will ever bring them back.”

01736c55e8731a7c458de799e319bd16In addition to CITES many organizations all around the world launch huge campaigns. The WWF in particular. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization working in the field of the biodiversity conservation, and the reduction of humanity’s footprint on the environment.

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The slogan that goes along with the following ads is: “Give a hand to wildlife”. It points out the fact that there are many endangered species in the world that need attention.
The campaign has won a Grand Prix award at Cannzebra3

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Every 60 seconds a species dies out.” – title of this campaign shows how the action of humans impact the environment in a way that kills.

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Bluefin Tuna overfishing:

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Exploiting the ecosystem also threatens human lives:

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“FRIGHTENING vs. MORE FRIGHTENING”
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“HORRIFYING vs. MORE HORRIFYING”

Raising awareness is crucial. Think about your doing. Every second counts, every action is important. Next time, maybe don’t throw a paper or a bottle on the ground. Less pollution could mean more protection to biodiversity.  This holiday take a picture of animals rather than buy a souvenir made from them. …and who knows? Then there still might be a chance after all.

Erika Pivolusková

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