A Global Crackdown on Wildlife Crime

London Declaration Sends Strong Message: Wildlife Trafficking is a Serious Crime on a Global Scale

London, Feb. 13, 2014 –
The following statement was released today by Dr. John G. Robinson, WCS Chief Conservationist and Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science:

“We greatly welcome the London Declaration on Illegal Wildlife Trade, which today sends a strong message across the globe: Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime, on a global scale, and must be tackled at all levels as a matter of urgency. The declaration calls for a global crackdown on wildlife crime and on the corruption and organized criminal activities that feed it.

“WCS applauds the leadership of the Royal Foundation and the Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Wales, and the government of the United Kingdom in convening this important conference and guiding it towards a positive outcome that will help advance efforts to stop the scourge of wildlife trafficking.

“The declaration makes it clear that trafficking in wildlife, and the illegal killing that supplies it, go beyond a breakdown in governance systems or a crime committed by the uninformed few. These are serious crimes committed by well-financed and well-armed syndicates with complete disregard for the well-being of people and wildlife. The declaration calls for governments to crack down on these criminals with stiffer penalties and more aggressive investigation and prosecution, including addressing the corruption and bribery that facilitate these crimes. It further calls for addressing this crisis at all points of the supply chain – where the animal is killed, where the parts are trafficked, and where the products are purchased.

“WCS commits to working closely with governments to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand—whether for elephant ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts, or other threatened and endangered species parts.

“Among the many elements called for in the declaration, we specifically applaud the endorsement of the following actions to be taken by governments:

Strengthening law enforcement at all levels, particularly to protect key populations of species at the site level;

Adopting stronger legal frameworks to penalize all wildlife criminals, especially the kingpins, by making all offences as serious crimes within the UN Conventional against Transnational Organized Crime;

Addressing corruption and bribery related to wildlife crime;

Supporting and undertaking targeted actions to end the demand for ivory and other illegal products;

Destroying stockpiles of seized wildlife products;

Renouncing the use of government procurement of any species threatened by extinction except for research, law enforcement and education;

Supporting CITES provisions prohibiting international commercial trade in elephant ivory until the survival of elephants in the wild is no longer threatened by poaching; and

Recognizing the harmful impact of wildlife crime on the livelihoods of local people.

“The London declaration comes during a week when conservation organizations put forth several solutions on addressing illegal wildlife trade at a landmark symposium organized by WCS, ZSL, and other United for Wildlife partner organizations. Today’s declaration is consistent with those solutions. It also comes during the week when the White House announced the United States government’s unprecedented strategy on this vital issue. We stand committed to both continue and to increase our collaborative conservation efforts with governments in multiple countries and on multiple levels to tackle this problem—for the sake of elephants, tigers, rhinos, numerous other species, their ecosystems, local communities, and the future of our planet.”

Mary Dixon – 347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org
Stephen Sautner – 718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; facebook.com/TheWCS; youtube.com/user/WCSMedia; follow: @theWCS.

96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign (www.96elephants.org) to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on domestic sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.

U.S. Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking: WCS has two appointed members on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking (Dr. Cristián Samper and Dr. Susan Lieberman).

Text of Declaration here>>