Strong protection measures for wildlife sought as international summit on illegal trade begins in London

Strong protection measures for wildlife sought as international summit on illega
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
London, UK

As decision-makers from around 50 countries meet in London tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss illegal wildlife trade, strong measures are being sought to protect elephants, rhinos, tigers and other threatened species from the bloody poaching crisis.

The London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade is hosted by the UK Government, HRH Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW -  www.ifaw.org) urges governments attending to agree a series of measures which will ensure real and lasting protection for wildlife.

Alarmingly, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. It is estimated that at least 25,000 elephants and up to 50,000 are slaughtered each year so their tusks can be used to make trinkets that nobody needs.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “This high level and vital summit offers an unprecedented opportunity for world leaders to agree actions to stop our populations of elephants, rhinos and tigers from being decimated for illegal trade. The public tell us they want to see our wildlife protected for future generations but governments need to work together now to stop poaching and stop the demand for wildlife products.”

IFAW believes the declaration from the London Summit needs to include measures to reduce consumer demand for ivory, rhino horn and tiger products, including public destruction of stockpiles or seized wildlife products; the introduction of bans on the trade in ivory, particularly in countries where demand is high, until elephants are protected from poaching; suspension of any future calls to sell ivory stockpiles, legalise the trade in rhino horn or farm tigers for their parts and better education of people from high consumption nations, as well as funding to improve awareness.

In addition, increased measures to prevent the trafficking of ivory, rhino horn and tiger products are needed, including greater prioritisation of tackling wildlife crime by all relevant countries, improved intelligence sharing and greater monitoring of enforcement. Measures are also needed to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty and therefore reduce the incentive to poach animals.

Marsland added: “Wildlife crime is not only a threat to wildlife, but also to national and global security as well as to social and economic development in the countries where it occurs.”

Wildlife crime ranks among the most serious and dangerous international crimes along with human trafficking, drug running and illegal arms sales. Generating an estimated £11.6 billion per year, illegal wildlife trade ranks fourth on the list of the most lucrative global illegal activities behind drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking.

IFAW staged an ivory surrender in recent weeks, calling on members of the public to donate unwanted ivory items to help protect elephants from the ivory trade. Hundreds of donated pieces of ivory were crushed earlier this week to ensure they would not find their way back to the marketplace and to send a symbolic call for action ahead of the London Summit.

Ends

For more information, photographs or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling at IFAW on +44 (0)20 7587 6708, mobile +44 (0)7917 507717, email csterling@ifaw.org or Amanda Gent at IFAW on +44 (0)20 7587 6725, mobile +44 (0)7860 755876 or email agent@ifaw.org

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Press Contact

Clare Sterling (IFAW UK)
Contact phone:
+44 (0)20 7587 6708
Contact mobile:
+44 (0)7917 507717
Contact email:
Amanda Gent (IFAW UK)
Contact phone:
+44 (0)20 7587 6725
Contact mobile:
+44 (0)7860 755876
Contact email:

Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia