(NW) WWF Launches Campaign to Stop Wildlife Crime

November 10 (BTA) – The Bulgarian chapter of WWF is working for the prevention of illegal activities, particularly in protected areas like Mt Pirin, Mt Strandzha, Mt Rila and Mt Vitosha, including haphazard development and logging in some of the last wild places in the country, the nongovernmental organization said on Tuesday. The announcement was made in the context with the global WWF campaign to stop wildlife crime, the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. The “bear” team is doing its best to prevent conflicts between humans and animals, while expert ichthyologists work with Danube and Black Sea fishermen to preserve the critically endangered sturgeon. WWF is also preparing a survey of the scope of wildlife crimes, the first of its scope, which has not been done before at the national level. The team is set to draft its fourth analysis of the volume of illegal logging in Bulgaria. The last report showed that illegal loggers earn 150 million leva in unreported revenue a year. Another adverse effect of illegal logging is the loss of habitat for wildlife, the WWF team added. Wildlife crime is one of the most lucrative criminal activities globally, generating a revenue of over 17 billion euro a year, WWF says. Many animals are traded as pets, while others are used for traditional medicines, trophies or food. The illegal trade in wild animals is one of the main reasons for the extinction of species, besides also frequently being the reason for the penetration of invasive species, as well as for the transfer of dangerous zoonotic diseases, commented species conservation expert Ekaterina Voynova. LG/BR/LG