Wildlife Conservation News



 
Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


 

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Category: Wildlife Trafficking

  1. African Wildlife Foundation gives $25 million to help wildlife and wildlife habitats in Africa

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    The African Wildlife Foundation will invest $25 million over the next 4 years to support the work being done by local communities and African governments to protect wild lands and wildlife in Africa.

    The pledge was made at the recent Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) conference in London.  AWF’s President Kaddu Sebunya said that poaching and illegal trade in wildlife poses an acute threat to Africa’s rich heritage of natural wealth.

    Kaddu says that there is some recovery and stabilization of some vital wildlife populations.   AFW has invested $13.1 million to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in Africa and also a further $5.5 million with public-sector partners.   The total of $18.6 million has been used to:

    • Support anti-poaching efforts on the ground
    • Strengthen prosecutorial and judiciary processes
    • Put sniffer dogs in critical transit points
    • Campaign to stop demand in Asia

    As a result:

    • 10 out of the 14 populations of elephants the funding has been targeting are increasing or are stable.
    • All rhino populations and 7 out of 9 carnivore populations that AWF supports are increasing or are stable
    • Prosecutors are building stronger case;  judges are delivery stronger sentences for wildlife crimes
    • Sniffer dogs have made over 250 finds

    And now this most recent pledge will support programmes putting the priorities in place that came out of the London IWT conference:

    • To build African leadership and ownership of the illegal wildlife trade in Africa
    • Protect habitats and key populations of rhinos, elephants, great apes, large carnivores and giraffes
    • Enhance detection of wildlife crimes and strengthen the ability to prosecute and judge, putting criminals behind bars.

    The belief is that Africa must own and drive the illegal wildlife trade work.  The London conference will help strengthen partnerships across borders to fight the illegal wildlife trade in an effective way.

    Four key elements are crucial to give Africa’s wildlife a chance, according to AWF Chief Scientist and VP of Species Protection, Dr Philip Muruthi, and they are:

    1. Keep wildlife safe from poachers
    2. Make wildlife products difficult to move around
    3. Actively involve key local players
    4. Dampen the demand for wildlife products

    Visit the African Wildlife Foundation

  2. Mansion House Declaration is signed commiting bank signatories to tackle illegal wildlife trade

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    The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be about £18 billion.  And it’s linked to extreme violence and drugs/weapons trafficking.

    In London from the 11-12 October 2018, the UK Government is hosting an international illegal wildlife trade conference. 

    And ahead of the conference, the  Duke of Cambridge, President of United for Wildlife, hosted a meeting of the United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce for the signing of the Mansion House Declaration

    Over 20 banks are clamping down on money laundering by criminal gangs who are involved in poaching elephants, rhinos, tigers and other threatened species. 

    HSBC, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered and the Bank of America Merrill Lynch are all signing an agreement committing them to training their staff to spot transactions which are linked to the trade in rhino horn, ivory and other animal parts.

    The Duke met with senior staff from the banks back in May and they agreed to join a new wildlife financial taskforce set up by United for Wildlife.  Traffic (a wildlife trade monitoring network) and the Royal United Services Institute are also signing.

    The Duke of Cambridge launched the initiative and the commitment made by these financial institutions is laid out in the Mansion House Declaration. The six commitments in the declaration are:  

    1. Increasing awareness of how the financial industry can combat IWT
    2. Providing training to identify and investigate suspicious activity
    3. Providing intelligence to regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies
    4. Reviewing intelligence alerts received through the Taskforce and taking appropriate actions
    5. Considering additional actions such as policy amendments
    6. Supporting and promoting the work of the Taskforce and external supporting

    The Duke of Cambridge thinks that the wealthy overseeing the trade need to be tracked down as well as the poachers.

    Britain’s Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s International Development Secretary, will also sign.  She will also announce that the Government will give £3.5 million to an international project to tackle money laundering by gang leaders who profit from the illegal wildlife trade.

    In part, the money will help improve detection and the sharing of intelligence by law enforcement bodies in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda and the Ivory Coast.

    If the UK can protect these species, it will also help some of the world’s poorest people to benefit from sustainable jobs which depend on the nautral world and endangered, wild animals.

    The creation of the Financial Taskforce follows on from the success of the of United for Wildlife’s Transportation Taskforce.  In March 2016, the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016 was signed.  It saw global transport industry leaders unite to identify ways the transport sector can close down criminal supply routes to thwart traffickers as part of efforts to tackle the poaching crisis.  Find out here.

    Go to United for Wildlife here

     

  3. Airline training helps prevent wildlife trafficking

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    Air Cargo News report that campaigns to stop wildlife trafficking from Africa have seen two training workshops held in Mozambique and Kenya.   More workshops are planned in Uganda, Malawi, Ethiopia and Malaysia.

    ROUTES (that’s the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species) delivered a workshops for airliner staff on the role they play in preventing wildlife trafficking.

    A ROUTES report analysing wildlife trafficking in the air transport sector says that Kenya is a significant transit point for poachers and traffickers who supply wildlife products to Asia.

    Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is the busiest airport in East and Central Africa and so is a target for wildlife trafficking, especially ivory.   Kenyan authorities often seize illegal products at the airport. 

    Empowering staff to identify and report suspicious activities linked to wildlife trafficking is essential to stop the trade.

    There was also a training workshop in Mapoto for staff such as cabin crew, ground handlers, cargo processors and other staff.  They found out how to detect and stop smugglers carrying wildlife products out of Mozambique, a hotspot for ivory and rhino horn going to Asia.

    It’s thought that as airline staff spend more time with passengers and their baggage, and cargo shipments, than customs officers, they can be a key source of intelligence in the battle to stop the wildlife trafficking trade. 

    Good luck ROUTES with your on-going workshops!

     

  4. Big technology companies unite to fight wildlife crime online

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    The illegal wildlife trade has increasingly moved online.   It’s very difficult to stop the smuggling there, due to anonymity and the vast number of for sale postings and the ease with which smugglers and sellers can just switch from one online site to another.

    So it’s great news that WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW are launching the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking online.

    The launch brings together technology, e-commerce and social media companies.   Law enforcement can’t do it all – so the technology businesses are a good place to start;  they can take down ads before they are even put up.

    Animals are sold every day online, pushing many species towards extinction.   Rhino horn is carved into bowls and trinkets, and used in tradition medicine.  Ivory becomes statuettes, chopsticks, jewellery and more.

    The launch of this initiative is very exciting.

    Companies will address the various problems in tackling online wildlife trafficking in various ways, using their expertise.  Algorithms using maching learning to detect keyword and flag posts before they go up online will be a start.

    WWF is helping to train companies’ teams to evaluate posts individually.  Users can become the ears and eyes of the company, and report anything which slips through the net.

    Companies will share knowledge about trends and best practices to develop priorities and prevent loopholes.

    It’s very heart-warming to see the way in which these technology giants are willing to help.  

    The founding coalition are: Alibaba, Baidu, Baixing, e-Bay, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Huaxia Collection, Instagram, Kuaishou, Mall for Africa, Microsoft, Pininterest, Qyer, Ruby Lane, Shengshi Collection, Tencent, W3en Wan Tian Zia, Zhongyikupai, Zhuanzhuan and 58 Group.

    WWF says, "The companies have committed to bringing down the online illegal trade in threatened species by 80 per cent by 2020."

    A big well done to everyone for getting this off the ground.  Elephants, pangolins, rhinos, marine turtles, tigers - these are just a few endangered species who need our help

    Your company can join in and help stop wildlife trafficking and help endangered species.   Find out how here

  5. 3 pronged approach to wildlife trafficking in Singapore works

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    The Straitstimes.com reports that Singapore has a 3 pronged approach to dealing with wildlife trafficking at border checkpoints, and it’s resulted in a number of seizures already.

    The 3 pronged approach is:

    1. Subjecting passengers and shipments to a risk assessment
    2. Conducting multiple layers of checks at checkpoints.  Passengers and cargo are screened by officers and tools such as x-ray machines.
    3. Adopting a co-ordinated enforcement approach amongst agencies such as the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, Singapore Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.   These agencies may respond to any intelligence which is credible and actionable, or tip offs from the public and international partners.

    Traffickers are subject to heavy penalties if they are discovered to have wildlife parts, with either fines of up to  $500,000 or two years in jail or both.

    Singapore has long been flagged by international environmental organisations as transit points for items such as rhino horn, ivory and pangolin scales.

    The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority is constantly reviewing the effectiveness of different tools and techniques, and they haven’t yet ruled out using sniffer dogs if studies show they can be more effective than current methods.

    For more information on wildlife trafficking, visit TRAFFIC