A new U.N. report announced at the 25th assembly of the U.N.'s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that over 164,000 seizures related to wildlife crime from 120 countries between 1999 and 2015. "The report looks at eight case studies of species products sorted by seven industrial sectors that make use of wild sourced materials across the world," read a press statement from the U.N. One key observation that the database illustrates is the extreme diversity of illegal activity related to wildlife.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov told a press conference: "The desperate plight of iconic species at the hands of poachers has deservedly captured the world's attention, and none too soon. Animals like the tiger, feared and revered throughout human history, are now hanging on by a thread, their dwindling numbers spread across a range of states that are struggling to protect them. African elephants and rhinos are under constant pressure." Fedotov warned that many countries do not punish wildlife crimes. "But the threat of wildlife crime does not stop with these majestic animals. One of the critical messages to emerge from this research is that wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions. It is not a trade involving exotic goods from foreign lands being shipped to faraway markets," he added. Stressing that illegal hunting and trade in thousands of species causes damage to the environment, the reports says that wildlife crime is a global problem, not limited to a specific region or a country. "This comprehensive global report is rooted in the best data and case studies available, is backed by in-depth analysis, and demonstrates a heightened sense of rigor in the way in which we report on wildlife crime," said Secretary-General John E. Scanlon of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).