(WILDLIFE CONSERVATION/POACHING) Animal and plant black market trading is now a 213 billion dollar a year industry, according to recent reports from the U.N. and Interpol. Poachers, illegal loggers, toxic waste dumpers, miners, and fishers all profit from environmental destruction, with logging posing one of the biggest ecological threats, generating $100 billion annually.

As the environmental crime industry continues to make more money, protecting endangered animals grows increasingly urgent. Read on to learn more about the environmental black market, and see how you can help fight against these destructive and harmful practices. — Global Animal

African Nations use elephant poaching as a form of income. Photo credit: Jo Crebbin/Shutterstock
African Nations use elephant poaching as a source of income. Photo credit: Jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

Salon

The poachers, the toxic waste dumpers, the illegal loggers, fishers and miners and those facilitating the black market trade for exotic animals and plants are among the criminals making bank on the destruction of the environment, a new report from the U.N. and Interpol finds. According to Reuters, the “enormous increase” in environmental crime is now netting up to $213 billion per year, money that funds criminal networks and armed conflicts at the expense of economic growth.

Illegal logging, worth as much as $100 billion worldwide a year, poses one of the biggest threats, damaging forests and generating incomes that “dwarf” other types of wildlife crimes, according to the report.

Illegal logging poses one of the biggest threats to environmental destruction. Photo credit: WWF
Illegal logging poses one of the biggest threats to environmental destruction. Photo credit: WWF

Militias in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab are among groups that illegally tax charcoal shipments. The total value of that unregulated trade in conflict-hit African nations alone is estimated at as much as $289 million a year, UNEP said.

Elephant poaching provides income for militants in African nations including Congo and the Central African Republic. The illegal trade in ivory is a key source of revenue for the Lord’s Resistance Army which operates around Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan, while the Janjaweed based in Sudan along with other “horse gangs” in that country, Chad and Niger also benefit from the sales.

Protecting endangered animals and limited resources, in other words, is only the beginning of why the report’s call for tougher laws and enforcement is necessary.

More Salon: http://www.salon.com/2014/06/24/poachers_are_making_a_killing_environmental_crime_is_now_a_213_billion_a_year_industry/

Click here to donate to the Born Free Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting wildlife from harmful practices, such as poaching.

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