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| Last Updated:: 22/07/2016

World Environment Day, 5th June, 2016


The booming illegal trade in wildlife products is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving whole species to the brink of extinction. The killing and smuggling is also undermining economies and ecoystems, fuelling organized crime, and feeding corruption and insecurity across the globe.

Wildlife crime endangers iconic elephants, rhinos, tigers, gorillas and sea turtles. In 2011, a subspecies of Javan rhino went extinct in Vietnam, while the last western black rhinos vanished from Cameroon the same year. Great apes have disappeared from Gambia, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo, and other countries could quickly follow. Lesser-known victims include helmeted hornbills and pangolins as well as wild orchids and timbers like Rosewood – flowers and timber are also considered wildlife!

Huge efforts to counter the illicit trade - including stronger policies, awareness campaigns and investments in community conservation and law enforcement - have scored some great successes. However, many species remain at risk and it will take a dedicated and sustained effort by each and every one of us to turn the tide.

How can we do it? More people need to understand the damage this illicit business is doing to our environment, livelihoods, communities and security. We must change our habits and behaviour so that demand for illegal wildlife products falls. More awareness and action pushes governments and international bodies to introduce and enforce tougher laws and combat those still willing to break them.

This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages you to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level - many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference.




This year’s World Environment Day celebrations are hosted by Angola, a country seeking to restore its elephant herds, conserve Africa’s biodiversity-rich wildlife, and safeguard the environment as it continues to rebuild after more than a quarter-century of civil war.

Every World Environment Day (WED) is organized around a theme that reflects a pressing environmental concern. The theme for WED 2016 is the illegal trade in wildlife, which threatens species such as rhinos and tigers with extinction. Wildlife crime also undermines economies and security, especially in developing countries.

"Angola is delighted to host World Environment Day, which will focus on an issue close to our hearts," said Angolan Environment Minister Maria de Fatima Jardim."The illegal wildlife trade, particularly the trade in ivory and rhino horn, is a major problem across our continent. By hosting this day of celebration and awareness-raising, we aim to send a clear message that such practices will soon be eradicated."

Angola boasts environmental assets including pristine coastline as well as forests and grasslands comparable to those that draw many tourists to neighbours Namibia and Zambia.

The country’s wildlife includes lions, great apes and giant sable antelope, a critically endangered species found only in Angola and listed as critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature. The Great Elephant Census is expected to release the results of its Angola survey in the coming months. Bird life includes African Grey Parrots, whose decline across the continent is widely blamed on their illegal harvesting for the pet trade.

The government recently launched a string of initiatives to enhance conservation and stiffen law enforcement. To demonstrate its commitment to curb elephant poaching, Angola last year submitted a National Ivory Action Plan as part of its membership of CITES, the UNEP-hosted international convention designed to prevent trade in wild animals and plants from threatening their survival.

The plan includes stiff penalties for poaching and ivory trafficking and stronger policing, including more training for wildlife rangers and the posting of a wildlife crime unit to the international airport in the capital, Luanda. In March, officials presented a draft law banning the sale of ivory, a move that would end the open sale of ivory artefacts at Luanda’s bustling Benfica market. Angola also is discussing the establishment of several vast trans-frontier conservation areas, including one that would include the wildlife-rich Okavango delta in Botswana, and another that incorporates Namibia’s wild Skeleton Coast.

Angola is embracing this ambitious agenda – and the high-profile role as host of WED – even as it continues to rebuild after a long and damaging civil war that only ended in 2002. The country can look to other African countries, especially safari destinations, and the growing revenues they earn from ecotourism to appreciate the value of safeguarding the environment and protecting iconic species from illegal poaching and trafficking.

With organized crime increasingly involved in the trade, experts also warn that trafficking also threatens to heighten corruption and insecurity in source countries as well as destroying their national heritage.




World Environment Day in Assam:

Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC), in association with the Forest Department and the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) are celebrating the World Environment Day 2016 by holding the State-level function at the Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakhetra, Khanapara, Guwahati