It’s a start, but the fight against illegal wildlife trade must continue


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The Independent Online

Fighting the illegal wildlife trade is one of those great global issues that is comparatively simple to address. Set against, say, financial reform or climate change, the measures that need to be taken are more or less consensual and plain to see.

They are, in fact, those which The Independent, with its sister papers i, The Independent on Sunday and London Evening Standard, have campaigned for in recent weeks. We asked governments to:

* Train and equip wildlife rangers who risk their lives stopping poachers.

* Educate people, particularly in Asia, about the true cost of buying illegal ivory.

* Stamp down on corruption and enforce adequate laws to punish those responsible.

* Uphold the existing ban on the international ivory trade.

* Help local people in poaching hotspots to benefit from wildlife conservation.

In the London Declaration, world leaders agreed to much of this, and committed to crushing stockpiles of ivory. But for now, elephants in Africa will still be slaughtered at the rate of one every 15 minutes. The remaining species of rhino in the wild will be pushed that much closer to extinction; so will the snow leopard, Siberian tiger, mountain gorilla and many others.

That is why we will continue to collect money to help our charity partner, Space for Giants, continue its vital work in Kenya. We will continue to tell our readers the truth about what is going on – as well as the many causes for hope as a result of the £460,000 we have raised thus far.