HRH The Prince of Wales (WWF-UK’s President) and HRH The Duke of Cambridge are hosting a high-profile international conference at St James’s Palace on 21 May, in collaboration with the UK government, to focus world attention on the urgent battle to end illegal trade in wildlife (#endwildlifecrime).
Wildlife poaching is nothing new, but the scale has now reached new heights. The world is faced with an epidemic of poaching and trafficking of illegal wildlife products - driven by growing demand, in particular from south-east Asia.
Wildlife losses have reached unsustainable levels - tens of thousands of animals in some places. Some African elephant populations face possible extinction within a decade because of ivory poaching. Both black and white rhino are under unprecedented attack for their horn, which is being traded as a spurious lifestyle drug. Wild tiger numbers across Asia have decreased by more than 90% in 100 years - killed for their skins and bones.
The aim of the royal event on 21 May is to get illegal wildlife trade acknowledged as the serious crime that it is. It’s often, in fact, organised by the same international criminal networks involved in illicit arms or drug smuggling, money laundering, corruption and violence.
Illegal wildlife trade is more than simply a danger to the natural world - it’s a threat to global stability and security. It’s time for wildlife crime to be made a priority by world leaders and law enforcers.
The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, alongside environment secretary Owen Paterson, will address influential guests from 26 of the countries particularly affected by illegal wildlife trade, calling for a global partnership and urgent action at the highest levels to end wildlife crime - specifically to:
- reduce demand for endangered wildlife products in markets around the world
- step up law enforcement against the criminals involved
- help local/rural communities find viable alternatives to illegal wildlife trade
Find out more about WWF and TRAFFIC’s campaign to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade.
Look out for the hashtag #endwildlifecrime on Twitter.
Here's HRH The Duke of Cambridge speaking on the subject at the opening of this year's CITES conference in March...
See some amazing images and insights from hands-on wildlife conservation workers in the field who experience life at the sharp end of wildlife protection every day.