David Attenborough on the illegal wildlife trade


If you ask why we should protect wildlife you are asking a very fundamental question about human beings’ relationship with the natural world and responsibility for the natural world. And I would have thought that almost anyone would think wildlife plays an important part in our lives and we have a responsibility to care for it. If that belief is not held by anybody I don’t know how I would start arguing about it because it seems to me fundamental. You might suppose it deals with living animals but it deals more with animal products, with things like ivory and elephant and rhino horn and pangolin scales and so on. Science and technology these days can help in identifying where those products came from, and can also identify them when they are perhaps being concealed. We should be protecting animals because they have a place in the world and we have the responsibility of looking after them. There are certain species of animal which are in danger of extinction. The reason why it would be terrible if the elephants are lost is both moral and philosophical and they also play an important role in the ecosystems in which they are found. And if you remove elephants you distort that ecosystem, and it would be a disaster if the elephant disappeared. There is no one solution because there is no one problem. There are multitudes of solutions, as many solutions as there are species. Not enough is done clearly because the illegal wildlife trade still flourishes. And while it flourishes then there is a problem.

5 thoughts on “David Attenborough on the illegal wildlife trade

  1. compared with the legal destruction of nature… how significant is the illegal destruction? really?

  2. We all need to Stand up to the Illegal Wildlife Trade! Thank you for highlighting this David.

  3. This man is so influential, Jesus Christ, just look at what happened to the plastics industry after blue planet 2.

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