In recognition of the serious threat the illegal wildlife trade poses to the survival of many species, a declaration to eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products and ensure effective deterrents has been signed by delegates from 46 different countries and 11 UN organisations.
As poaching reaches unprecedented levels, wildlife crime is becoming increasingly well-organised across international borders. Serious incidents are becoming more frequent and occurring in places that were previously considered safe for wildlife and the rangers dedicated to their protection. According to the declaration signed today, the illegal trade deprives countries and communities of their natural capital and cultural heritage, with serious social and economic consequences. There is also growing concern that the illegal trade in wildlife products is supporting other criminal activities.
Recognising that action is required, representatives from governments and conservation organisations came together to work out a deal to enforce laws broken by illegal wildlife trade and support efforts already being made to stop poaching and the demand for products such as ivory and rhino horn. Following recent news that 2013 was the worst year ever for rhino poaching in South Africa – with 1,004 rhinos killed – this declaration comes at a critical time for many species but action must be taken quickly if it is to make a difference.
Download the full declaration here.