A report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed that, poaching, illegal logging and fishing in nearly 30 per cent of World Heritage sites are driving endangered species to the brink of extinction.
The report ‘Not For Sale’ by WWF also sought additional and immediate measures to halt the worrying trend in illegal trafficking for international trade of CITES-listed species in the world’s most ecologically important places — including World Heritage Sites (under natural category) in India.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), an international agreement between governments, ensures that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
There are over 35,000 species (over 5,000 animals and 30,000 plants) listed under CITES.
According to the report, species mainly targeted in the World Heritage sites includes snow leopard, rhino, eastern swamp deer, white-lipped peccary – a hog like animal, jaguar and elephants among others.
The 52-page-report points out seven natural sites in India and among them some rarest of the rare species like pangolins and snow leopards.
The sites in India named include Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Keoladeo National Park, Western Ghats, Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area and Khangchendzonga National Park that was only last year named a World heritage site.