The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis with far-ranging repercussions. Besides the virus itself, Sri Lanka is affected by its own lockdown measures and those of other countries, impacting sectors such as trade, tourism, industry, transport, services, and financial markets. However, the prevailing curfew across large parts of the island have allowed for a rise in the illegal hunting of animals, otherwise known as poaching.
From pangolins to elephants, from tropical timber to birds and snakes: Wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illegal global trade sectors and generates billions of USD per year. Since 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for the sustainable trade of wildlife and ecosystem products.
Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with an abundance of ecosystems and many endemic species. Its animals and plants are greatly threatened by human activity and the impacts of climate change, putting the world at risk of losing this irreplaceable wealth of wildlife. If we want to preserve Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, actions need to be taken on all levels: by the government, by academia, by NGOs, and by everyone living on the island and around the globe.