A Landmark International Agreement to Halt Wildlife Trafficking Is Just the Beginning

“A rising middle class in China, Vietnam and other asian nations creates an enormous market for ivory, rhino horn and asian medicine. Until pragmatic ways to limit markets for illegal wildlife products can be found, I fear the ‘London Declaration’ may be just pomp and circumstance. As long as asian markets are open, poachers, organized crime and terrorists will continue to find ways to reap their profits much as the drug cartels take advantage of markets for drugs in the US, UK and Europe.” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Science & Space

Leading nations gathered in London this week for the highest-level meeting ever to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife products. Illegal wildlife trafficking—the unlawful slaughter of endangered animals to trade their valuable parts—has risen alarmingly in recent years.  Campaigners estimate that more than 30,000 elephants were killed in Africa last year for their ivory and 1,000 rhinos killed in South Africa alone, an increase of some 5,000%.  But the problems the trade poses are not just to elephants, tigers and rhinos—there’s increasing evidence linking illegal wildlife trading with corruption, terrorist groups and organized criminal networks.

The London meeting is evidence of a growing political will among countries to finally take concerted action on the issue. British royals Prince Charles and Prince William attended the conference, urging the 46 partaking countries to commit to ending wildlife trafficking. The conference ended with a strongly worded declaration in which the countries agreed…

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