|Basic Concepts in Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Management: An Information Kit (International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR))|
What is wildlife trade?
Wildlife trade refers to the collection, purchase and sale of species (plants, animals and marine life) in live or stuffed form, as well as trade in products such as bags, belts, shoes and accessories derived from these organisms.
Why should wildlife trade be regulated?
The uncontrolled trade of plants and animals will leave our country with little or no unique natural resources. Raw corals, which are continually -harvested and sold as house decor, are vital to the country's fishing industry. Some of the orchids which we import at very expensive prices from Thailand were derived from mother plants coming from Philippine forests and yet our very own Waling-waling orchid is fast disappearing
Philippine wildlife trade
Trade of Corals
The high consumer demand for exotic decorative items for the home has given illegal traders the necessary market-for smuggling corals within and out of the country. The USA is the major importer of corals from the Philippines. Corals are made into accessories and other items which are then exported as shell crafts using forged permits.
Trade of Monkeys
Intensified laboratory research has created a high demand for nonhuman primates. The use of monkeys as laboratory animals-is predicted to continue. The demand from zoo and pet trades is also exerting pressure - on the nonhuman primate population. Continuous collection of monkeys for sale abroad beyond natural: replenishment rates will bring about the depletion of the population.
Trade of Birds
Aside from habitat loss, birds are affected by trade and unregulated collection. The big demand-for birds as pets, game, zoo exhibits, or symbols of prestige has contributed to the decrease in numbers of many species;
Trade of Marine Turtles
Marine turtles, one of the most important export animals, have been gathered for their precious shells. Stuffed turtles are highly priced and sold as home decor and guitars. Eggs and meat of sea turtles are considered to be a delicacy and often overharvested.
Trade of Plants
The vegetation in most forest areas is seriously threatened due to wanton destruction. Plants are collected, after being -uprooted from remote and delicate habitats. The unregulated collection 'of these plants, particularly rare and endangered species, is a big problem. Many are in demand and command very high prices here and abroad. Many of the Philippine flowering plants, ferns, orchids; mosses, rattan species and other wild plants have. already been destroyed.
Trade of Reptiles and Amphibians
Many species of crocodiles, snakes, lizards and frogs are traded because their skins are made into bags, belts, wallets and other items. For those who have an appetite for the exotic, the meat of these animals is also eaten.
Trade of Insects
Various kinds of attractive insects, such as Swallowtail butterflies, large beetles, stick insects and leaf insects, are collected in large amounts for mounted specimens and home decor.
Trade of Fishes
The Philippines is renowned for its rich marine tropical fish resources, but the trade is threatened by the indiscriminate use of cyanide. Furthermore, endemic freshwater fishes, like the Sinarapan and the Pygmy Goby, reduced by overexploitation, are now restricted from collection.
What is CITES?:
Although wildlife trade is considered legal in other countries, the recent concern for the conservation of biologic-al diversity has placed restrictions on the trade by virtue of an international treaty. The world's most widely accepted international treaty is the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora-and Fauna (CITES). CITES was a world reaction to the global threat posed by the unregulated trade of five specimens, parts or products to the rapid rate of extinction of plants and animals.
CITES is structured to protect endangered species from any commercial exploitation and to subject threatened or similar looking animals to certain control measures (through permits or licenses) before they can be legally traded.
The CITES treaty first came into effect in 1975. In August 1981, the Philippines became asignatory. Since November 1991, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been enforcing the treaty. Based on the CITES Agreement, the trade of endangered species, like crocodiles, marine turles and eagles, is banned for collection and export. Trade of other less endangered species like orchids, monkeys and some bird species is allowed but closely monitored.