The world’s wildlife is in decline.
In Canada alone, half of all vertebrate species have seen their populations shrink since 1970, according to a study recently released by the World Wildlife Fund. Habitat loss, pollution, and the impacts of climate change are all well-known threats to biodiversity, but in the September/October issue of Canadian Geographic, writer Leslie Anthony exposes the shadowy world of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
In “Biodiversity Apocalypse,” Anthony recounts his first direct experience with a global industry that generates an estimated $175 billion each year through the sale of animals and animal byproducts. Hiking alone one evening while on assignment in northern Vietnam in the 1980s, Anthony stumbled across a group of poachers and their quarry of gibbons and sun bears — both critically endangered species. What he didn’t realize at the time was that Canada, too, is a hotbed of illegal wildlife trading.
Anthony is not alone in wanting to shed light on this international criminal enterprise; this week, the African Wildlife Foundation released a new PSA, part of their “Say No” series. In it, a talking rhinoceros explains that the killing of rhinos will only stop when there is no longer a market for their horns, which are prized in some areas as decorations and for their supposed medicinal properties. The PSA was created in partnership with WildAid, which recently launched its own anti-wildlife trade campaign starring Kung Fu legend Jackie Chan.
Watch the video below and grab a copy of our September/October issue—on newsstands now—to read Anthony’s story.