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October 3, 2019 (Washington, DC) – High-level officials from both government, intergovernmental and non-profit organizations, including representatives from The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), are convening in Lima, Peru for the first-ever Americas Regional Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. Developed collaboratively since 2017 by several entities, including IFAW, the conference represents a fundamental first step in establishing partnerships within the region for the prevention and control of illegal wildlife trade. The outcome of the conference will include country participants signing of the Lima Declaration, a formal commitment to addressing the threat of illegal wildlife trade and developing collaborative, multilateral actions to combat its proliferation.
Species-rich Latin America holds over 40 percent of the Earth’s biodiversity and over one quarter of its forests, turning the region into a global hotspot of the illegal wildlife trade, and making immediate action critical to the survival of many of the region’s species. Key discussion topics to be covered at the regional conference will range from the prevalence of corruption and the various economic crimes involved in wildlife trafficking, to the current controls and regulations governing wildlife trade, to the use of technologies needed to combat illegal trade, including demand reduction mechanisms.
Given the presence of major transit and destination countries in the region, the impact of the illegal wildlife trade throughout the region is formidable. The breadth and scale of this illicit trade can range from the slaughter of elephants abroad for ivory, to the sale of reptiles and exotic birds as domestic pets, to jaguar body parts used for traditional medicines. One aspect of the conference that has garnered attention due to its regional significance is the poaching and trade of the jaguar, its body parts, and various derivatives.
According to Joaquin de la Torre Ponce, IFAW’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, “As the largest big cat species in the Americas, the iconic jaguar, beyond its critical role in the ecosystem, holds tremendous cultural significance. Collaborative joint action, such as that being discussed throughout this first Americas conference, is critical to addressing the illegal wildlife trade which is universally recognized as a growing threat to this keystone species.”
As one of the most lucrative types of organized crime, wildlife trafficking is heavily dependent on sophisticated networks involving bribery, money laundering, and often violence. Hence, trade in illegal wildlife is a serious crime that not only threatens species biodiversity and the environment, but also threatens human security. Therefore, IFAW works to break every link in the trade chain, from poaching to trafficking to demand. Our teams across the globe monitor wildlife markets online and offline, sharing intelligence with law enforcement agencies that lead to market crackdowns and criminal prosecution. These efforts, coupled with our lobbying efforts, are changing laws and transforming the marketplace.
To learn more about IFAW’s impact in combating illegal wildlife trade, visit ifaw.org.
About The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW):
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.
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