Animal trafficking: Wildlife trade crisis talks held

White rhino A total of 1,004 white rhinos were poached last year in South Africa

Related Stories

Experts from around the world are gathering in London to discuss "the global crisis" in the wildlife trade.

Conservationists say animal trafficking is reaching unprecedented levels and species such as rhinos, elephants and tigers are under threat of extinction.

The aim of the meeting, hosted by the Zoological Society of London, is to find new ways to protect animals and reduce demand for wildlife products.

An action plan will be fed into another meeting hosted by the UK government.

Start Quote

It's clear that illegal wildlife trafficking is completely out of control”

End Quote Jonathan Baillie Zoological Society of London

This will take place on Thursday at Lancaster House, with international leaders gathering to discuss a global response to animal poaching.

They will be joined by Prince Charles and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. They have jointly released a video campaign urging people to "unite for wildlife".

Prof Jonathan Baillie, director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), said: "It's clear that illegal wildlife trafficking is completely out of control, and we need to bring the best minds together to really identify some clear solutions and show clear leadership and direction."

He has organised the two-day conference with other NGOs, which include the Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF, Traffic and Conservation International.

Wildlife poaching has seen a recent boom, and it is worth an estimated £12bn ($19bn) each year.

A tiger yawns at the Ranthambore National Park, in India's north-western Rajasthan state, in a picture taken in January 2004 Conservationists believe there are just 3,200 tigers left in the wild

In South Africa, in 2007, 13 rhinos were killed for their horns, but in 2013, 1,004 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers.

Elephants too are suffering dramatic losses. An estimated 20,000 of the giants were killed in Africa during 2012, according to work carried out for the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Prof Baillie added: "I was working in central west Africa a little over 10 years ago - and more than half the elephants I saw would now be gone."

The meeting will also look at the trade in other species, including tigers, which are thought to number just 3,200 in the wild, and pangolins, which are traded at high volume.

The conservationists at the conference will discuss ways to stem the growing markets for wildlife products.

Naomi Doak, from Traffic, said the demand for animal products in Asian counties such as Vietnam was growing.

"There is still a very strong underlying belief in rhino horn's medicinal value, but we've seen a move away from that towards its use as a reinforcer of social status; a validation almost of people's emerging position in an economy that is growing incredibly fast," she said.

The meeting will also look at how conservationists can better protect animals.

Prof Baillie said: "People on the ground need to have the tools, the technology and the money to implement conservation effectively. They are up against massive crime networks that are extremely well resourced - and they are outmanned and outgunned."

Follow Rebecca on Twitter


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites



This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    The main reason for the killing of elephants and rhinos is the widespread use of the tusks in alternative medicines. More and urgent education is required for this to stop. They are made from the same material as teeth. Iv even heard talk of cutting the horns and tusks off to stop poachers from going near them, but this is not the answer as the animal has a natural need for these.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    It could be stopped virtually over night if governments were to put saving whole species before profit.... A total trade ban with China until they stop importing and life in jail for poachers with strict enforcement should do the trick. To many are making a killing, literally, from it though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    It's bad enough what we as humans do to each other, let alone the terrible things we inflict upon helpless animals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Education would ensure wildlife would not be poached/traded. Illiteracy, ignorance and GREED ensue it will continue.
    The political puppets around the world have to ability to stop this. They just do not have the gonads to do anything about it because they "benefit".
    GREED is killing this planet at all levels and it is not in the interests of the greedy to educate the masses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Could the Crown Estate explain why they are still granting the British Association for Shooting and Conservation licences to shoot red and amber listed birds threatened with extinction like the golden plover and red throated diver on their land in the UK?

    The Crown Estate should set our own land aside for wildlife conservation before telling other countries what to do


Comments 5 of 13


More Science & Environment stories


Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(Getty Images)

What it’s really like to die

The seven experiences you face at the end


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.