Elephant appeal: UK pledges £10m to fight illegal wildlife trade

Cash and commitment are vital to stop criminal gangs

Share

The UK Government has vowed to clamp down on the soaring trade in illegal wildlife products such as rhino horn and elephant ivory, pledging £10m to fight a crime offering “low risk and high rewards”.

Illicit trade in wildlife has exploded into a $19bn (£11.6bn) global criminal enterprise, driven by newly-rich Asian consumers who aspire to a luxury lifestyle through status symbols such as ivory goods, as well as exotic pets, such as monkeys, and meats, such as anteater.

The vacuum of demand has been filled by organised criminals who can make a fortune with relatively little risk of conviction and who are threatening government stability and national security in some of the worst-hit areas in Africa, pressure groups say.

A combination of high prices, weak laws, poor enforcement and relatively short sentences, has made poaching far more attractive to criminals, they say.

The Government clampdown will see the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) join forces for the first time.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said: “Poaching devastates livelihoods and sustainable communities as well as endangering the existence of these wonderful animals. We must work together with other countries to stamp it out by stopping demand, improving enforcement and by helping communities develop sustainable economic activity.”

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “By working with Defra to tackle the illegal wildlife trade we are helping to improve the economic opportunities of the poorest people whose livelihoods depend on natural resources. This fund will also help stop corruption fuelled by the illegal trade.”

Funding will be awarded to support action in developing countries that reduces the “opportunity and incentive” to poach. It will also be used to provide training and equipment to help law enforcement. Some of the budget will fund a campaign to raise awareness of the impact of wildlife crime, which the World Wide Fund for Nature says appears to fund terrorist cells in unstable African countries, with the criminals often using the same networks as other illegal trades, such as drug trafficking.

The £10m fund is being made available as David Cameron prepares to host in London the highest-level global summit to date on combating illegal wildlife trade. The summit in February aims to produce an unprecedented political commitment and an action plan.


To donate to our Christmas elephant appeal, click here

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nicola Sturgeon could have considerable influence over David Cameron in a hung parliament  

General Election 2015: What if Cameron were to end up in hock to the SNP?

Steve Richards
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before