Preventing Animal Extinction in Colombia

Colombia is running out of its fauna population, affecting one of the most valuable distinctions of this country. Although Colombia is known around the world as one of the most biodiverse countries, nowadays humans produce problems such as deforestation, illegal hunting, and contamination. These issues are causing the possibility for almost 1.203 species to be extinct. However, to overcome the decrease of fauna population in Colombia, there are few solutions such as the increasing of protected areas, creating a law to make hunting illegal, and also, by making Corporate Social Responsibility, focused on helping environmental areas, an obligation for companies to function in the country.

The increase of protected areas is crucial and essential for preventing the extinction of native fauna in Colombia. This is because, nowadays, there are only 142.682 km2 protected areas over the 1’142.000 km2 of the total country’s territory, in which most of it, is composed of a rainforest ecosystem. The fact of protecting only 12% of the areas of a country, which is worldwide known as the second most biodiverse country in the world, is not useful for solving the problem. For example, according to Andrews Wight, journalist of NBC News, “Colombia’s deforestation has increased dramatically”.

Despite some Colombian farmers affirm that cutting down trees is useful for agricultural activities and, therefore, they are against the increase of protected areas, it is necessary to create policies to save the biodiversity of the country and to show the agricultural industry that Colombia has already specific areas for farming and agricultural activities. Consequently, the increase of protected areas will also teach farmers to respect fauna’s environment as it happened in other countries such as Austria, “where the probability of deforestation has been 7 to 11 times lower in protected areas”.

Secondly, the fact of creating a law to make hunting illegal for sending people who keep hunting to jail is the solution for preventing the animal extinction caused by illegal hunting in Colombia. This is because, even though Colombia ban sport hunting, the fauna population is still decreasing as a result of illegal hunting, which is produced by the black market, and because people know they will not be charged or send to jail. For example, according to CTV News, on September 13th of 2019, “authorities in Colombia found 442 snake rattles, 128 mammals teeth, 23 tapir hooves, a cat skull, toucan heads, 12 necklaces made of monkey appendages, deer hooves, the tails and shells of armadillos, feathers from parrots and macaws, as well as skins from ocelots, pumas, boa constrictors, anacondas and primates, in order to being sale for witchcraft rituals and amulets”.

Despite “under Colombian law, people who sell or traffic wild species face up to 8 years in prison”, there was not a solid or evident punishment for those who killed animals and promote the risk of animal extinction. Therefore, hunting animals is becoming a serious problem which must need to be stopped by making hunting, constitutionally, illegal as Poland did in 2001, when “a temporary ban on hunting, resulted in a slow recovery of moose population”.

An employee of Bogota’s environment secretariat with a skin seized

Finally, the fact of making Corporate Social Responsibility being focused on benefitting fauna’s environment and an obligation for companies to function in Colombia is another way for preventing animal extinction. This is because even though in Colombia some companies implement Corporate Social Responsibility, most of their actions are only focused on helping childhood.

Besides, as “in Colombia environmental audits are not mandatory, it is producing that the country still lacks a coherent green growth policy framework”. This statement is evident in daily life in Colombia, where most of the companies do not have policies for waste management, which is causing more contamination of water sources and rainforest areas, followed by poisoning of animals with toxic residues. For example, the oil spill is a common situation that occurs in Colombia and it is produced mostly, as a result of the lack of interest of companies for being eco-friendly. The oil spill of approximately 550 barrels for almost one month, which “killed more than 2,400 fish, birds and reptiles” is clear evidence of the negative effects of the lack of a Green Corporate Social Responsibility of the companies, because even though the crude started escaping at the beginning of March in 2018, Ecopetrol, the principal oil company in Colombia and which knew about the oil spill that was occurring, “decided to send heavy equipment that could stop the spill” just at the end of the month, when national media made public the situation in Barrancabermeja. Therefore, it is clear that preventing a crisis of reputation was the main priority for Ecopetrol, instead of preventing an environmental crisis.

Due to Corporate Social Responsibility is not an obligation for companies to function in Colombia, it is necessary to make Corporate Social Responsibility being focused on preventing environmental issues and make it a duty for all companies to function in the country. This need is supported by the fact that the culture and mentality toward this matter have to change and companies must have an important role in this, as it occurred in Finland where thanks to the companies and social commitment, according to Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, nowadays Finland is the world’s most eco-friendly country.

Taking into account the aforementioned and the fact that Colombia is rich in fauna and natural ecosystems but unfortunately, nowadays it is losing its biodiversity as a result of deforestation, the lack of law for making hunting illegal, and the lack of policies that force companies aiding fauna’s environment by implementing Corporate Social Responsibility, it is necessary to realize that Colombia is just on time to prevent animal extinction by increasing the number of protected areas, creating laws to make hunting illegal and finally, by making Corporate Social Responsibility an obligation for companies to be in the country’s market.

References

Agence France-Presse. (13 de September de 2019). CTV News. Retrieved from Colombian authorities seize animal parts sold for rituals: https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/colombian-authorities-seize-animal-parts-sold-for-rituals-1.4591511

Cardona, A. P. (19 de April de 2018). Áreas protegidas son insuficientes para proteger los grandes vertebrados de Colombia. Retrieved from https://sostenibilidad.semana.com/impacto/articulo/areas-protegidas-son-insuficientes-para-proteger-los-grandes-vertebrados-de-colombia/40859

Chow, L. (27 de March de 2018). More Than 2,400 Animals Killed by Oil Spill in Colombia. Obtenido de Ecowatch: https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change-2100-covering-climate-now-2640419832.html

Elias, P. (n.d). The Root of the Problem What’s Driving tropical Deforestation to Day?

Macias, L. F. (2019). Colombia: Environment and Climate Change Law 2019. En L. F. Macias, Environment and Climate Change Law 2019.

Marco Apollonio, R. A. (2010). European Ungulates and Their Management in the 21st Century. Cambridge.

Smith, O. (22 de April de 2017). Mapped: The world’s most eco-friendly countries — where does the UK rank? Retrieved from The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/most-and-least-environmentally-friendly-countries/

Veeneman, H. J. (March de 2016). CSR in Colombia Observations and recommendations. Retrieved from https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2016/05/Colombia%20CSR%20Country%20Scan%20Report.pdf

Wight, A. (9 de September de 2018). As Colombia battles deforestation, other post-conflict regions show there’s hope for conservation. Obtenido de NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latin-america/colombia-battles-deforestation-other-post-conflict-regions-show-there-s-n907811