World leaders from 50 nations gathered in London Feb. 13 to discuss plans to put an end to illegal wildlife trade.
The United Kingdom’s government website states in a press release that the three main objectives of the international wildlife summit are
* to strengthen the laws that surround this issue
* to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products world-wide
* to implement a system of viable livelihood in areas of illegal wildlife trade
There has been an emphasis on putting an end to the ivory trade market which is worth an estimated $22 billion annually, reports the Guardian.
A recent study done by the Public Library of Science showed that five countries in Africa lost 65 per cent of their forest elephant population between 2002-2011.
Environmental Affairs for the Republic of South Africa also saw a major increase in Rhino poaching in the last year. It reported that 1004 rhinos were killed in 2013.
The UK’s press release states that 1 rhino is killed every hour. The Western Black Rhino was declared extinct last year, and three out of nine species of tigers are already extinct largely due to illegal killing.
While the animals are the priority of the summit, there has been an increase in violence towards those individuals who are attempting to protect them.
The UK government reports that 1000 park rangers were killed in the last ten years while trying to put and end to this illegal practice.
Jonathan Baillie of the Zoological Society of London told the BBC that these are all clear indications that the world of wildlife trafficking is out of control.
In order to generate awareness and support for this cause, Prince Charles and Prince William released this video entitled “Unite for Wildlife.”
Video courtesy of NTDTV’s Youtube channel.