In the Eastern USA, the Eastern Cougar is Extinct and that time is running out for the tiger (Link to my source, “All about Wildlife”.)
“Popular Science, November 2010 reports, in an article by Lauren Allen, Dinner Detectives, at p. 56 that much of the Tuna served at Sushi restaurants throughout the USA (indeed the world) is in fact endangered Bluefin Tuna, and that some species of bluefin tuna have been fished to near extinction, but that many of those species are still being served at sushi restaurants and [mislabeled] as simply “tuna,” fatty tuna,” or “medium fatty tuna.”
Some of the most endangered species are used for clothes and apparel and accessories. Others are used for scientifically ridiculous medical purposes. Many are eaten, incredibly, despite the availability of safe and abundant supplies of alternative sources of meat and fish. In fact, it is will suspected that AIDS was transmitted to humans through the slaughter and consumption of wild monkeys, yet rare and endangered “bush meat,” including monkeys continues to be eaten, even smuggled at great expense from source countries to rich consumers around the world.
Much of the public are familiar with the courageous actions of the Sea Sea Sheppards. They have many operations, including to protect seals, sharks, blue find tuna, but are most well known for their campaign to protect the whales in Antarctic ocean by Japanese whaling vessels. This particular campaign is well known because of the “Whale Wars” on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet. The whale meat is sold in Japan as a delicacy, despite the intelligence of the hunted whales and the scarcity of their numbers (who are protected by treaties world-wide) from commercial fishing. The Japanese fish them because a limited number are allowed to be “harvested” for Scientific Purposes, an excuse an 8th grader wouldn’t buy.
I was in China while the events were unfolding. The show in fact airs several months after the campaign ends. On the news, I read about a protest in Japan over the arrest of a Sea Sheppard member who risked his life to, non-violently, protest the whaling by boarding one of the Japanese commercial whaling vessels. I expected the protest to be by environmentalist in Japan about the arrest of this courageous, self-less, and peaceful environmentalist, Incredibly, the protest was by right-wing nationalistic fanatics who were protesting their right to eat whale meat.
In fact, the Japanese government has a very poor record in enforcing existing laws prohibiting the illegal and/or questionable importation of protested and endangered species. According to Popular Science, in 2006, Japanese customs officials confiscated an incredible amount of 5,310 pounds of elephant ivory, but the smuggler was find the equivalent of only $7,500 (less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the ivory’s market value.)
The problem is not limited to Japan. It is world-wide. In 2008, a USA congressional report announced the trade in protected species may be worth more than Twenty ($20,000,000.00) Billion Dollars!. And this is protected species, not merely endangered species (the later or which should and may need to be protected but the killing and consumption of which are not necessarily illegal.) Even the USA has just 10 Fish and Wildlife Inspectors in J.F.K. Airport (the busiest entry point for illegally smuggled animal products) and only 100 such inspectors to serve the entire country (according to Popular Science.) Just imagine the traffic over the hundreds of border points along the US-Mexican border. Yet these products can come in on plane, boat, mail, ship, and truck from all over the world.
What can be done. First and foremost, write your congressman and tell him/her that you want more funds and stricter enforcement of existing laws and regulations. Remember, each US citizen has one representative to the US House of Representative, two Senators, and One President, each of which can easily be contacted over the Internet. Tell them also that the citizens of the USA demand that the USA, in world-wide conventions and discussions regarding international treaties, demand stricter laws protecting a broader amount of endangered species, the closing of “loop-holes,” more money for enforcement of existing laws, and increased penalties for violators of the law. These violators include everyone from the poacher in the jungle and the fisher in the ocean to the diner in the restaurant or the shopper in the clothes store.
Other worthwhile organizations include: