Wildlife body calls for less talk, more action on poaching

Jun 23, 2014
The carcass of a male Sumatran elephant, its head and trunks mutilated and ivory tusks missing, in Aceh Jaya district on Indonesia's Sumatra island on July 14, 2013

A wildlife protection agency has demanded less talk and more action against the poaching of elephants and other animals, saying it was time for the same "frontline" tactics used against human traffickers and drug gangs.

"Unprecedented demand, and loss of habitat is destroying entire species and the building blocks of the ecosystem that we all rely upon," said John Scanlon, head of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

He was speaking at the start of a global conference of 1,200 delegates in the Kenyan capital Nairobi organised by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to discuss a range of green challenges.

"Ultimately, this fight will be won or lost on the frontlines, whether in the field, the courtroom, or the market place -– not in a conference room," Scanlon said.

CITES warned Africa was suffering a "surge in poaching, in particular of elephants", and called for "even stronger law enforcement and demand-reduction efforts across multiple countries, to reverse the current dangerous trends."

Organised and rebel militia increasingly use poaching to fund insurgencies, reaping the benefits of multi-billion-dollar demand for ivory in China where it is used as decoration and in traditional medicines.

Kenyan police officers look on June 5, 2014 at 302 pieces of ivory, including 228 elephant tusks, found and seized the day before in a warehouse during a raid in the port city of Mombasa

"We are fighting highly organised crime groups that target wildlife for profit. These groups are driven by greed and the scale of their activities can in some places threaten entire ecosystems," said Ben Janse Van Rensburg, head of enforcement for CITES.

"It remains vital for countries to recognise wildlife crime as a serious crime, to deploy the same tools and specialised techniques that we use to fight other organised crimes, such as human and drug trafficking."

Explore further: Study: 20,000 elephants poached in Africa in 2013

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: 20,000 elephants poached in Africa in 2013

Jun 13, 2014

(AP)—More than 20,000 elephants were poached last year in Africa where large seizures of smuggled ivory eclipsed those in Asia for the first time, international wildlife regulators said Friday.

Treat illegal wildlife trade as serious crime: CITES

Jan 25, 2013

Illegal trade in wildlife products like ivory and rhino horn must be treated as a serious crime in order to end the devastating poaching of protected species, the head of UN wildlife trade regulator CITES ...

Ruthless crime gangs driving global wildlife trade

Mar 09, 2013

Ruthless and heavily armed "criminal syndicates" linked to drug smugglers and militias are running the global wildlife trade and turning their guns on the park rangers tasked with protecting endangered species.

African elephants face 'alarming declines'

Mar 06, 2013

African elephants face the worst crisis since global trade in ivory was banned almost a quarter-century ago, with the risk of extinction rising in worst-hit nations, conservationists said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

How can we help endangered vultures?

Oct 24, 2014

Zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin are proposing an ingenious idea to help conserve populations of African white-backed vultures. The iconic birds, which play a critical ...

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

Oct 24, 2014

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jonseer
1 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2014
This war can only be won when the value of the animals for their horns are recognized and they are raised specifically for that purpose which would result in ways to remove the horns as they grow while causing minimal harm to the animals in question.

This outdated and false notion that the people will fight to keep these animals alive without receiving any benefit is not only absurd it is evil.