EU Commission Public Consultation Vital to Survival of Elephants, Rhinos and Tigers

Friday, February 7, 2014
Brussels, Belgium

The European Commission today announced its consultation on the EU Approach against Wildlife Trafficking. The consultation is welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org) and is not before time. Current levels of wildlife trafficking, especially for elephants, rhinos and tigers amongst others are devastating populations.

Sonja Van Tichelen, IFAW EU Regional Director said: “We are in a desperate race to save some of the world’s most charismatic animals. The problem of wildlife trafficking is complex and the solutions will not be simple. It is reassuring that the EU consultation acknowledges the need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to wildlife.

If we are to save elephants and rhinos for future generations we must establish a new EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking and that Action Plan must include substantial commitments for a trust fund to support range states in their fight against traffickers and poachers.

The EU Parliament made this clear in the resolution that was overwhelming adopted just three weeks ago.

It is very heartening to see Europe at the forefront of combatting wildlife crime. This Wednesday three Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers gave powerful, firsthand accounts of the situation on the ground in fighting poachers to Dutch parliamentarians. Yesterday we saw the first large-scale destruction of ivory in Europe at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Next week government leaders from around the world will gather in London to face this growing tide of death with a united front.”

Kelvin Alie, IFAW Wildlife Trade Director said: “Up to 50,000 elephants a year are killed by poachers for their ivory. The illegal wildlife trade generates an estimated US$19-billion a year, ranking amongst the most lucrative illegal activities in the world with drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking. More than 41 tonnes of contraband ivory was seized in 2013 – the largest amount in 25 years – with large scale seizures (those weighing more than 800 kgs) the norm rather than the exception. If we are to save elephants we need to address every link in the ivory chain. That means stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking and stopping the demand”.

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