As the New Year begins, many people resolve to travel more, and spend more time living in the moment and experiencing life. Did you know that the souvenirs you purchase when you travel can have a huge impact on wildlife? Many tourist stops all over the world are stocked with the remains of plants and animals, and being sold for a high price. These animals include starfish, corals, turtles and hermit crab shells. By purchasing these items for décor and keepsakes, you are contributing to the decimation of some animal populations. Many items being sold as trinkets and jewelry are from endangered animals. Each year, hundreds of millions of plants and animals are taken from the wild and sold as pets, food, ornamental plants, leather, décor and medicine. This has caused overexploitation of wildlife to be the second biggest threat to animal populations, just behind habitat loss, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Most wildlife trade is legal, but still has a huge impact on wildlife populations. These animals are used so much that they don’t have time to recover and build their populations while the demand for them is constantly increasing. Illegal wildlife trades of animals like elephants, rhinoceros and tigers are fueled by high profits for the traders and tourists wanting a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Humane Society International states that, each year, over 30,000 elephants are poached for ivory. Wildlife trade involves hundreds of millions of plants and animals from tens of thousands of species. In fact, in just one year, there may be 100 million tons of fish, 1.5 million live birds, and 440,000 tons of medicinal plants sold for profit, as stated by the World Wildlife Fund. The organization also mentions that most countries protect their native plants and animals with strict regulations and laws through CITES, a treaty that was signed by over 170 nations to support sustainable wildlife trade and help endangered species. When you purchase an item, make sure that you know what it is made of, where it came from, and that the country you are visiting supports only sustainable wildlife trade. As a consumer, you can have a huge impact on wildlife through your purchases. Items to avoid while you are travelling, according to emmadavies23.wordpress.com, include animal fur, skin and feathers, marine life such as seahorses, shells and corals, turtle shells, rhinoceros horns and ivory amongst others. Don’t purchase souvenirs made from animals and do your part to help the planet and creatures worldwide.
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