WCS’s John Robinson: “We call on ALL governments to up the ante—for range, transit, and consumer countries to increase their enforcement engagement, and for donor governments and agencies to provide the funding needed to combat this insidious crime. The future of our world’s wildlife depends on it.”
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Executive Vice President for Global Conservation John Robinson released the following statement:
“The illegal wildlife trade is big business, having a devastating effect on many wildlife species and destroying the integrity of natural communities.
“Elephants, tigers and other big cats, rhinos, parrots, pangolins, and freshwater turtles and tortoises are among the many species affected. But the effect on human livelihoods, community cohesion, income generating jobs and national economies is equally pervasive. The trade undercuts the food security and sovereignty of local people who depend directly on wildlife, and enables the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. It corrupts local and national institutions that seek to manage natural resources, imperiling good governance and the rule of law. It is a direct challenge to the economic, social and environmental pillars embedded in the sustainable development goals.
“The illegal wildlife trade provides revenue for organized crime syndicates and militias, exacerbates local conflict, and is linked with other transnational organized crimes. It is a national security threat.
“For these reasons and more, the Wildlife Conservation Society engaged actively in all levels with the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade this week—during 2 days of the conference, and at other events in the 3 days prior to the Conference in London.
“WCS congratulates the government of the United Kingdom for bringing the world together to focus on wildlife trafficking and strategize how governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders can collaborate to combat this scourge.
“We deeply appreciate the leadership of the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, and the Royal Foundation in galvanizing attention on this issue. We appreciate the engagement of heads of state, ministers, and other high level government officials from around the world, along with NGOs, private industry, and other stakeholders in coming to London for this conference.
“WCS attended the three previous illegal wildlife trade conferences—in London in 2014, Kasane in 2015, and Hanoi in 2016—and they continue to become larger and more comprehensive. We were pleased to see the enhanced engagement of high level officials, as well as enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary agencies and officials. We were also very pleased to see the increased attention on disrupting and dismantling the criminal networks that drive this crime.
“Now is the time for action.
“We call on ALL governments to up the ante—for range, transit, and consumer countries to increase their enforcement engagement, and for donor governments and agencies to provide the funding needed to combat this insidious crime.
“The future of our world’s wildlife depends on it.”