Outreach on social media against illegal trade of lesser-known species

Updated - May 08, 2015 05:36 am IST

Published - May 08, 2015 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Pangolins, monitor lizards, tokay gecko, turtles and tortoises, lorises, birds, corals, sea cucumbers are some of the endangered species

Pangolins, monitor lizards, tokay gecko, turtles and tortoises, lorises, birds, corals, sea cucumbers are some of the endangered species

A digital media campaign on illegal trade in lesser-known and non-charismatic wildlife species — including pangolins, owls and mongooses — that ended this past week, claims to have reached out to nearly 1.4 million people on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The campaign, “Preserving the Future: Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade” was jointly run by TRAFFIC, WWF-India and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), a nodal agency for curbing wildlife crime in India.

“The growing demand for wildlife from India that threatens the existence of the tiger, elephant, rhino and various other flagship species has been well publicised. However, illegal trade in non-charismatic or lesser known species like pangolins, monitor lizards, tokay gecko, turtles and tortoises, lorises, birds, corals, sea cucumbers and others has remained largely unreported,” said a release issued by TRAFFIC (India), which is a wildlife trade monitoring network.

“With little knowledge and understanding about the population status, numbers poached, illegal wildlife trade hubs and dynamics of these non-charismatic species, it is difficult to ascertain the impacts of illegal trade on their population status. The campaign was launched in New Delhi on the social media platforms of TRAFFIC’s India Office and WWF-India, and as Google Adverts in February 2015,” noted TRAFFIC India head Shekhar Kumar Niraj.

Dr. Niraj added that hundreds of pangolins, lizards and tortoises are poached each year in India; nearly 7,00,000 birds illegally trapped, and several tonnes of sea cucumbers caught, yet the levels of exploitation of these species are rarely reported.

“This large-scale exploitation, along with minimal information about their population status, poaching and smuggling trends, places the future of these lesser-known species in jeopardy,” he said.

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