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What are animal welfare and conservation?
1. In the United States there are as many as 10,000 big cats in captivity—in fact, there may be more tigers in cages across the US than live in the wild globally.
2. Wildlife trafficking is big business, generating USD $7 to $23 billion annually—the fourth most profitable global crime after drug, arms and human trafficking. The demand for live animals and animal products hastens biodiversity loss and puts many species at risk of extinction.
3. Animals such as the northern white rhinoceros are now nearly extinct due to rampant poaching for their horns. There are currently two northern white rhinos remaining in the world, both females.
4. An African elephant is killed by poachers every 26 minutes for its tusks, the equivalent of 55 elephants slaughtered each day, and a staggering 20,000 elephants each year. While these numbers represent a decline in poaching since the peak of 2012–2014, the survival of elephants continues to be threatened by poaching, loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict.
5. Claiming to prevent conflict with livestock and people, the United States government killed over 1.2 million wild animals in 2019, including coyotes, wolves and bears. Research has shown such culling tactics to be ineffective and based on false portrayals of wildlife as threats.
6. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing—also known as pirate fishing—depletes fish stocks and harms the marine environment through overfishing. Up to 26 million tons of IUU fish are caught each year, valued at USD $10 to $23 billion. IUU fishing practices damage the seabed and smother coral reefs. They also result in bycatch of unwanted fish and marine animals, such as dolphins, whales, sharks and endangered sea turtles.
7. The dramatic increase in underwater noise pollution due to ships and human-made sound has had a harmful impact on marine animals, which depend on sound to find food, communicate and navigate. Blue whales could once communicate across an entire ocean—now, that distance has been reduced by 90%.
8. According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), habitat loss is the greatest threat to 85% of its Red List of threatened and endangered species. Climate change currently affects 19% of the species on the Red List. One million animal and plant species face potential extinction in the coming decades, including koalas.