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Why we're tackling the illegal wildlife trade

Stopping the illegal wildlife trade is one of the most important and urgent parts of our work to protect iconic and threatened wildlife.

We’re facing a global poaching crisis, which is threatening to overturn decades of conservation successes. For many iconic animals like elephants, rhinos and tigers, the situation is critical.

The numbers are horrific: around 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year, and there was over a 9,000% increase in rhino poaching in South Africa between 2007 and 2014.

But it’s not just an issue that affects wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade is a huge international organised crime – the fourth biggest illegal trade in the world, worth over an estimated £15 billion annually. It’s often run by ruthless crime syndicates, involved in other organised crimes and corruption, and it threatens the people who live and work alongside the wildlife being targeted. It also affects the economic development of some of the world's poorest countries.
 

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How we're tackling the illegal wildlife trade

We’re focusing our efforts on these critical areas:

POACHING

Working with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, to support teams of rangers and local people on the ground who put their lives on the line to protect elephants and other wildlife from poachers.


TRAFFICKING

Exposing and closing key hot-spots and routes where ivory and other illegal products are being traded.


BUYING

Promoting initiatives that change consumer behaviour and reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.


GOVERNMENTS

Putting pressure on governments to improve and enforce their  regulations to make it possible to end the illegal wildlife trade, once and for all.


THE LONDON CONFERENCE ON ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE

In October 2018 London will host the next Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, where world leaders have the opportunity to make the commitments needed to end the illegal wildlife trade. In particular, we'll be calling on them to tackle corruption, stop ivory trade and make sure that rangers are properly trained, equipped and insured.