I'm so pleased to have been invited to attend the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference next week, hosted by the UK Government.
The conference will bring together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.
The conference will focus on three key themes:
Tackling IWT as a serious crime
The illegal wildlife trade is currently estimated to be worth up to £17 billion a year and is detrimental to a huge array of wild animals. The illegal trade in ivory has double since 2007, approximately 277,000 pangolins have been illegally traded since 2000 and there are thought to be as few as 3,200 wild tigers remaining across their Asian range; this is only a fraction of the damage being done.
I’ll be posting updates throughout the conference and hope to draw attention to how the illegal wildlife trade is threatening lion populations. The legalised trade in lion skeletons in South Africa, for use in traditional medicine, has already uncovered links to known crime syndicates in Asia. Combined with the practice of canned hunting, the industries are a huge threat to wild lions with an increase in poaching for body parts – the UK government should be expected to ban the import of both wild and captive lion trophies into the country to protect the remaining 20,000 African lions.
You can follow #endwildlifecrime on social media for the latest updates.