What We’re Reading Week of March 30th, 2015

Kaylee Dolan, Wildlife Law Program

1. New York Times Profile Highlights Widespread and Embedded Nature of Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam 

A piece this week from the New York Times dives deep into the people, professions, and industries involved in the wildlife trade in Vietnam. Vietnam is a bustling hub for the wildlife trade, second only to China, where poaching, buying, and selling protected species goes unstopped by law enforcement more often than not. Sometimes law enforcement agents can even worsen the problem by confiscating animals and then selling those animals themselves. A lack of enforcement of anti-trafficking laws in Vietnam, coupled with very lax (and even non-existent) punishment of those involved in the trade, has led to the trade decimating Vietnam’s natural biodiversity. The future of many species there—and around the world—remains uncertain.

The Times also featured a piece in their Science section today about the struggle to save the pangolin from extinction as it is being targeted by poachers and is considered to be the most frequently trafficked animal on the planet. 


2. Surfrider Foundation Europe Shocks with its Provocative New Ad Campaign 

One European organization is making waves with its new ads, which aim to increase awareness about how our choices as consumers affect marine life. Surfrider’s moving ads show wildlife “at gunpoint,” with the red lasers of check-out scanners poised on the heads of various marine animals, demonstrating how items like plastics and cosmetics can get into the ocean and injure or kill wildlife. One of Friends of Animals’s main goals is to provide legal protections for marine life of all types through mechanisms such as the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. We hope that increased awareness about the connection between human consumption/development and ocean health can foster recovery for imperiled species.


3. Unique Animations Share Knowledge About Endangered Species 

A British designer recently introduced the world to a new way to learn about endangered species. He has created shape-based animations that continuously morph to create images of thirty different endangered species, including the vaquita, the golden poison frog, the forest owlet, and the Knysna seahorse, amongst others. Each animation also comes with information about the species, including threats to its survival. You can view the exhibition– and learn a few new facts about endangered species– right here. 

4. New Panda Findings May Surprise You 

Little was known about pandas’ social habits until recently. However, after a two-year study, researchers now have a few more insights into the lives of the elusive animals. They believe that pandas may be more social than previously thought, actually seeking out the company of other pandas. The scientists involved with the study also believe that pandas remember their favorite places to eat and return to them when new growth emerges. These findings contribute to the existing body of literature and research that points to animal intelligence and sentience—which must be used to redefine the way that animals and their rights are viewed in a societal, ethical, and legal context.