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World leaders come to London to tackle illegal wildlife trade

22 January 2014

On 12-13 February heads and ministers of around 50 governments from around the world will meet at the London Conference to agree how to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

Two Rhino's, one without a horn. Copyright Brent Stirton, Getty Images

Poaching for the trade has reached unprecedented levels and it’s estimated the trade is worth an incredible £6 billion per year, making it the fifth largest international crime. It’s time for governments to take serious action to stop the trafficking.

Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will be leading the UK government efforts. WWF-UK’s President HRH The Prince of Wales, along with his son, HRH The Duke Of Cambridge, will both be in attendance.

The illegal wildlife trade is a serious crime and causes an alarming threat to many species. In 2012, 22,000 elephants were killed worldwide for their ivory, and last year rhino poaching levels were a staggering 7500% higher than 2007, their horns sought for illegal Asian markets.

Park rangers who dedicate their lives to protecting these animals are also putting their lives in danger with over 1,000 rangers losing their lives to poachers in the last decade. Such wildlife crime has links to other serious crimes like arms, human and drug trafficking, funds regional conflict and impedes economic development in some of the poorest countries.

The aim of the two day conference is for governments to sign a declaration not only showing their political commitment against the illegal wildlife trade, but to agree specific actions they will then implement in their own countries.

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Tiger and other skins confiscated at Heathrow Airport. United Kingdom

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