Saturday, February 15, 2014

Prince Charles and Other World Leaders Declare Action Against the Illegal Wildlife Trade

Charles, Prince of Wales

It has recently been reported that Prince Charles of Britain made a profound plea for the world to come together to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade destroying threatened wildlife such as elephants and tigers in Africa and Asia. His appeal at the London Conference on the illegal wildlife trade demanded prominent action by global leaders to be doubled by action on the ground to halt the demand for illegal wildlife products and punish those involved in the business. The conference was the pinnacle of a week of events targeted at stimulating efforts to stop the slaughter of endangered species for their body parts, which are much in demand in parts of Asia. In an announcement agreed to at the end of the conference, world leaders vowed to intensify enforcement to protect at risk of poaching, to enforce stiffer penalties on all the individuals involved in the illegal wildlife trade, and to discuss related bribery and corruption. They also agreed to destroy stockpiles of confiscated wildlife products. In his speech, Prince Charles applauded China, France, and the United States for having recently destroyed considerable stockpiles of seized ivory.
A forest elephant in Gabon.

He was approached a little over a year ago by a group of African presidents who made an intense request for help, in which they described the poaching crisis in their countries having reached indescribable heights. The crisis has been the result of militant groups, organized gangs, and terrorist organizations slaughtering greater numbers of elephants and rhinos. New data gathered by the Wildlife Conservation Society disclosed that 65 percent of Central Africa's forest elephants were lost to poaching between 2002 and 2013. Based on the research across eighty sites in five countries, a study indicated that forest elephants are being slaughtered at "a shocking nine percent per year." As a result, the elephants reside in only about a quarter of the area where they once existed. This indicates that the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the largest country in Africa, are greatly almost empty of elephants. According to researcher Fiona Maisels, who is also the co-author of the study, at least 200,000 elephants were killed between 2002 and 2013, "to the tune of at least sixty a day, or one every twenty minutes, day and night." Prince Charles pointed out that the forests and savannah grasslands have grown "frighteningly silent", and without elephants to help in seed germination, the continuing ecology of forests is "fatally disrupted." He further added that the illegal wildlife trade has now transformed from an environmental issue to a global criminal industry, ranking alongside arms, drug, and human trafficking. In addition to decimating the world's wildlife, the wildlife trade is also spurring corruption and insecurity, and sabotaging efforts to cut poverty and promote sustainable development, especially in Africa.
The war flag of Al-Shabaab, one of several militant groups involved in poaching.

This article is a clear wake-up call to all the world's nations to come together, in order to battle and ultimately put an end to the ongoing threat of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Majority of the world's endangered species are continuing to suffer in the bloodthirsty hands of poachers and other individuals involved in this illicit business. These individuals include members of various militant groups and terrorist organizations notably in Africa, who are involved in poaching of the wildlife to finance their civil wars against innocent civilians. Among the major syndicates associated with Africa's poaching epidemic include Al-Shabaab, the Janjaweed, and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Furthermore, the illegal wildlife trade is also a threat to humanity because it is driving corruption and insecurity, and ruining efforts to put an end to poverty and promote sustainable development. These facts covered are a proof enough to incite the world's nations to take decisive action against this global atrocity that is threatening both animal and human life simultaneously.

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