Bangkok (Thailand), 19 November 2013 - To highlight the urgent need to address the illegal trade in wildlfe, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific today launched a wildlife crime public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness among young Asians that the buying, selling, and consuming of protected species is illegal and finances organized crime.
"In today's globalized society, young people are better informed and can drive change. They can make informed choices and decide not to be part of this trade which lines the pockets of criminals," said Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC. "By showing the consequences of the illegal wildlife trade - corruption, organized crime, and the extinction of endangered species - this PSA asks young people in Asia to make a radical change."
Featuring internationally renowned Chinese actress Li Bing Bing, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme, the PSA vividly illustrates how wildlife crime inflicts a tragic toll of destruction. It asks viewers to make a difference by changing their consumption habits today. Delivered by Ms. Li, the PSA's message is simple: Buying protected wildlife is a crime. Don't be part of it!
The illicit trade of wildlife and its derivatives to, from, and within Asia is worth billions of dollars annually. It fuels organized crime, corruption, and violence. This transnational crime has rarely been a priority for law enforcement and the criminal justice system, allowing traffickers to enjoy a high level of impunity so far.
A rich bio-diversity hot-spot, Southeast Asia and the Pacific is both a point of origin and destination for a significant trade in wildlife that threatens many vital and endangered species with extinction. Rare wildlife is consumed throughout Asia - but particularly in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Viet Nam and Thailand - for luxury meals, and used for status symbol ornaments and in traditional medicine. Asia is now a significant consumer market for smuggled wildlife, driving the massive scale of poaching in Africa.
You can watch the PSA in English below:
The PSA, which was made possible by a generous grant from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US Department of State, is also available in Mandarin, and in subtitled Thai and Vietnamese versions.
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