Sri Lanka has pledged to help prevent the ravages of wildlife trafficking that “is one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside drugs, arms and human trafficking”.
Sabarullah Khan, Ambassador and Chargé d᾽Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, was speaking at the UN HQ in New York on the eve of World Wildlife Day.
Wildlife and biodiversity underpin much of Sri Lanka’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality industries, so the commitment will be good news for them as well as for the world’s nature lovers.
Ambassador Khan said that “wildlife and forests, flora and fauna are at this moment being ravaged due to transnational organized crime, impacting vulnerable communities and the fragile environment”.
He noted that Sri Lanka “has a remarkable high proportion of endemic species among its flora and fauna. In order to preserve their habitats, all natural forests in Sri Lanka have been set apart for the conservation of soil, water, and biodiversity”.
He added: “It is now a top priority for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka stands ready to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife, which has become one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside drugs, arms and human trafficking.”
“My country stands ready to combat with utmost vigor the illegal trafficking of these products. In January this year (2016) Sri Lanka crushed and burnt its stockpile of confiscated elephant ivory comprising 359 elephant tusks. This ivory came from a single shipment weighing 1.5 tons seized in the Port of Colombo in May 2012.”
He spoke as Sri Lanka took part in an event titled “Wildlife Crime and New York Launch of the World Wildlife Crime Report” organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).