A conservation crisis: Talks in London this week must lead to urgent action

The scale of wildlife crime has grown so serious that unless some effective action is taken immediately, many of the earth’s most fabulous creatures will be lost forever

Share

There is a good reason why world leaders, zoologists and conservationists are gathering this week in London. There is a crisis. The planet has never been in more danger of losing sustainable populations of animals that have lived in harmony with nature for hundreds of thousands of years. True, many have been in decline since man began to encroach on their habitats; the fate of the dodo attests to that. But it is something we should never regard as natural.

The scale of wildlife crime has grown so serious that unless some effective action is taken immediately, many of the earth’s most fabulous creatures will be lost forever. Already, for some sub-species of rhino and tiger, it is too late.  Even those that seemed least at risk – such as the elephants this newspaper has been campaigning for – could be virtually wiped out if industrial-scale poaching is allowed to continue. A world where there is just one wild rhinoceros left alive in Malawi, for example – under guard in a zoo – is a world impoverished.

Much of the talk this week at symposia and press conferences will revolve around the links that the poachers and smugglers have to organised crime, to terrorists, and the drugs dealers. These are obviously vital issues, ones that directly affect the living standards and safety of citizens throughout the West. They also happen to be the most important reasons why governments have become more alarmed about poaching and smuggling.

Many African nations are also concerned about the impact on their image and on their tourist trade. And yet the greatest damage, the irreversible harm, is to the environment itself. As the floods in much of southern England and Wales remind us, climate change is real and a result of man’s despoliation of his environment – which includes the destruction of species vital to the local ecologies.

The Independent – supported by its sister papers i, The Independent on Sunday and the London Evening Standard – has campaigned vigorously, and our readers have responded magnificently, raising more than £400,000 for our charity appeal. We hope David Cameron’s guests this week will follow that example.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) pictured shaking hands with Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi on 25 March 2004.  

There's nothing wrong with Labour’s modernisers except how outdated they look

Mark Steel
 

Any chance the other parties will run their election campaigns without any deceit or nastiness?

Nigel Farage
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee