The global coverage on wildlife trade is rapidly expanding and sources from around the world are providing information on the issue for many different audiences. One of the key aspects to improving the detrimental impacts created by the poaching of wildlife is to educate the public on the issue. The more the public knows locally and nationally the more credibility the issue will receive in the global sphere. People can learn from media. It can shape attitudes and behaviors in beneficial ways. Using media to improve the status of international or local issues such as the illegal wildlife trade can be very helpful for an issue on the global scale.
I was on Facebook the other day and I saw an ad for an app about endangered wildlife. The app is a tool people can use to report any suspicious activity regarding illegal wildlife trade by taking a picture and pinpointing the exact location where the incident takes place. The information goes to an organization called TRAFFIC. “TRAFFIC is a wildlife trade monitoring network that works to ensure trade in plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature” (Traffic.org). The information is gathered and entered into a database so they can track the most active spots for wildlife trade.
This app is a source of media that gives people a use to support the issue. When the media is personally useful like this app people pay attention and gain vital information about the problem and can make contributions to organizations like TRAFFIC. The idea of using social media as a tool to create a bigger understanding of a problem through hundreds of thousands of potential users of the source can be vital to an issue. The source of media can create a public opinion towards the given topic and create a consistent belief among the affected communities to help improve the conditions.
The article promotes the application and implies that you can create an important impact in the closing of heavy flow markets or arrests of major wildlife trade kingpins but all you can really do is report the issue. The application may gain users and it may provide information to the organizations but it does not have a major affect on the overarching problem of wildlife trade. I think that using an application people can download on any typical smartphone is a good idea to get the public’s hand in the issue but many of the tourists who visit these markets or have any interest in the business are usually buyers. The others who see wildlife trade taking place in certain regions on a regular basis probably don’t have a smartphone or they have a conflict of interest towards the trade.
The public often avoids certain things that upset us emotionally or we do not agree with. This app is a perfect example of a tool that is useful but using the app in a helpful way is very disturbing and many people don’t feel comfortable doing it. Wildlife trade is also a very illegal and a violent business. If tourists and buyers are taking pictures of the illegal products I don’t think they will take it very lightly if they see it.
The overall idea for using a simple source of media like this application is to try and engage the public and interested groups and to give them a useful tool to submit helpful information. This can be an affective way to appeal to the public for their support. The simplicity of the application is what is going to attract users to actually use the app but it is important to see articles like this. This article shows that there is a very large audience that is individually interested in the issue. I think creating the app was a great idea to try and get other witness’ involved and it’s important that the media keeps up the coverage and media regarding the issue. This ad showed that the issue is still at large and there is a lot of work to be done but there are still efforts being made by the media and other sources to keep the issue afloat and hopefully bring more credibility and attention.