Through political action and grassroots efforts, ifaw aims to end wildlife trafficking in this particularly vulnerable region.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, wildlife crime takes many shapes. Though the region covers just 16 percent of earth’s surface, it’s home to 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity—making it an outsized hotspot for illegal wildlife trade.
When IFAW joined the fight to end wildlife trafficking in the region in 2011, we knew our solution had to be multi-pronged. Without political action, grassroots efforts would be directionless. And without on-the-ground enforcement, political action would be toothless. So we’re doing both.
Working with members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we’re campaigning for a political declaration—to be endorsed by all Latin American and Caribbean countries—that would make fighting wildlife trafficking a regional political priority.
At the same time, we’re pioneering a regional program to combat wildlife trafficking. The program will train authorities to enforce existing legislation against trafficking and identify animal by-products that may not appear suspicious.
First, we’ll focus on jaguars, whose body parts are sold as medicinal products on Asian black markets. And with enough funding, we will expand the program to cover other vulnerable wildlife, too.
Already, Peru has committed to a declaration making the fight against wildlife crime a regional priority, leading the way for other countries to follow.
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The problems we face are urgent, complicated and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work and involvement from people like you.