March 3 2015 marks World Wildlife Day, and this year’s theme is: “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime.” The Wildlife Conservation Society Central Park Zoo will host the United Nations and key government and civil society partners for a high-level panel discussion on international wildlife crime.

The event will focus on stopping illegal wildlife trade with new efforts to be announced, such as new initiatives by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to halt illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia. Professional media are invited to the event.

Once an emerging threat, wildlife and forest crime today has transformed into one of the largest transnational organized criminal activities alongside drug trafficking, arms, and trafficking in human beings. At least 20,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2013, while 1215 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone in 2014 - this translates to one rhino killed every eight hours. Criminal groups are using the same routes and techniques for wildlife trafficking as for smuggling of other illicit commodities, exploiting gaps in national law enforcement and criminal justice systems.


  • H.E. Amb. Marianne Bibalou, Chargée d’Affaires of Gabon
  • H.E. Amb. Harald Braun, Permanent Representative of Germany
  • H.E. Amb. Chayapan Bamrungphong, Chargé d’Affaires of Thailand
  • CITES, John Scanlon, Secretary-General
  • UN Environment Assembly, Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, President
  • UNODC, Deputy Executive Director Lale-Demoz
  • UNDP, Nik Sekhran, Director, Sustainable Development Cluster, BPPS
  • GRASP, Doug Cress, Programme Coordinator
  • WCS, Cristián Samper, President and CEO
  • WCS, Sue Lieberman, Vice President, International Policy
  • USG/State Dept. H.E. Amb. William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

    Dan Harris, ABC Nightline

    WHEN      Tuesday, 3 March, 3:30pm–6:30pm followed by reception

    WHERE     Central Park Zoo, New York

Please note:  A limited number of seats will be available for media

For more information, visit:

Social media: Follow the conversation via #seriousaboutwildlifecrime

In addition, several other events around the world will be commemorating World Wildlife Day, including a meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday, 4 March, at 10am. The General Assembly event is open to media accredited by the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit.

Media Contacts:

WCS Central Park Zoo:
Mary Dixon,, 347-840-1242

Joyce de Pina,, +1 212-906-5698;
Wynne Boelt,, +1 212-906-6860

Spokesperson for the President 69th Session of the General Assembly:
Jean-Victor Nkolo,, +1-212-963-8203