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African religious leaders join forces to help stop illegal wildlife trade

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  • 1. African religious leaders join forces to help stop illegalwildlife tradeNairobi, Kenya (PRWEB) September 21, 2012 Today, WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and ARC (The Alliance of Religions and Conservation)announced a first-ever partnership with faith leaders from across Africa to unite against thekilling of endangered species caused by illegal wildlife trade. In an unprecedented move, 50African religious representatives from different faiths and countries have come together to callfor the end of illegal wildlife trade which is annihilating the continents elephant and rhinopopulations.WWF and ARC have worked with leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist andtraditional faiths to align around the wildlife crisis facing Africa and held several meetingsincluding a wildlife safari in Nairobi National Park during which the religious leaders discussedthe role of religion in Africa to halt the trade. The leaders gave a moving tribute to all the wildlifeexterminated due to the trade and also prayed for the wellbeing of local communities and for themany hundreds of rangers that have lost their lives protecting wildlife across Africa.Halting wildlife trade is a moral issue, says Dekila Chungyalpa, WWFs Sacred Earth programdirector. Faith leaders are the backbone of local communities, providing lessons and guidancethat shape how people live their lives. Having religious leaders from all major faiths cometogether to call for the protection of wildlife on religious grounds and urge their congregations toview the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa as a serious crime may turn the tide of thedisaster we face today.Illegal wildlife trade is the greatest threat to many endangered species, jeopardizing decades ofconservation work and threatening their survival. 2011 saw the highest recorded rates of killingson the continent in more than two decades and the largest scale illegal ivory seizures thananytime in recorded history (equaling the tusks from more than 4,000 dead elephants). Rhinopoaching in South Africa has increased more than 3,000 percent in the last five years. Poachers 1/4
  • 2. wipe out tens of thousands of African elephants every year. Tanzania and Kenya function asmajor conduits through which large-scale illegal ivory goods are moved through the CongoBasin to international Asian markets including Vietnam, Thailand and China.Wildlife poaching is a highly organized crime backed by international syndicates who also backother crimes such as gun and drug trafficking. The victims of illegal wildlife trade include notonly rhinos and elephants but also rangers and local communities. At a wider scale, we shouldrecognize that illegal wildlife trade undermines social stability and peace-keeping efforts inAfrica, said Chungyalpa.“ARC has been working with religions over the past 20 years to help them explore how to takereal action to protect wildlife. Religious leaders are seeing wanton destruction of the greatspecies (and the habitat that nurtures them) as an attack on both creation and the creator. Thisis a really welcome initiative coming from Africa,” said ARC Secretary-General, Martin PalmerAbstracts from the Faith Statements include:Christian:When we look with eyes of faith at the wonders of all that God has created: at the strength ofthe lion, the beauty of the gazelle, the swirling patterns of the birds of the air and the fish in thewaters. When we see the flowers of the field greater in their beauty than even Solomon in all hisriches, we should rejoice that God has placed us in the midst of such a glorious world.Therefore, when we see this glory diminished by our sin, greed and foolishness, we should hehorrified and speak out against this wanton destruction of the wonder that God has created. Weshould both repent and seek to do all in our power to protect all that God has created.In the light of this, our faith, we call upon all Christians, but especially those of our tradition, toprotect the gifts of God in nature. In particular, in this time of deep crisis of creation, caused byhuman folly and sin, we ask all Christians to protect and defend our most endangered speciesin Africa, such as the rhinoceros, gorillas and the elephant.Hindu: 2/4
  • 3. Hindus are guided to act according to dharma, striving to do the right thing in the mostresponsible way. As a pathway to dharma, Hindus are encouraged to always act in goodness,sattva. Aspiring for the highest, purest and most excellent form of action. An essential principleof goodness is ahimsa, non-cruelty to others. The practice of ahimsa inspires us to avoid harmto any living being, to offer respect to all and to develop the virtue of compassion in our hearts. .All Hindus are encouraged to be respectful of all life on earth and to protect those who areunder threat from exploitation, poaching and extinction. We particularly encourage Hindus todefend the most endangered, including the elephants and rhinos of Africa and the tigers ofIndia.The beauty and diversity of life are sparks of God’s splendour to be cared for in a mood ofservice.Muslim:In the light shed by the Quran and by the Hadith we call upon all the Ulumma of the faithful toremember that on the Dreadful Day of Judgement, we must answer for any wasteful use ofcreation, any destruction of a part of nature that was not necessary.We therefore ask all the faithful to protect those species in our own lands that are mostthreatened, such as the elephant, gorilla and rhinoceros, and to assist in the prevention ofpoaching and the illegal wildlife trade in order that on the Dreadful Day of Judgement, when thecommunity of creatures stand before Allah, we will not be condemned by their words.The richness of this world is a gift and a blessing from Allah. May we in turn be a blessing to allthat Allah has made and given to our care.????????????????????????###Notes to Editors: 3/4
  • 4. Link to Complete Faith Statements: http://divshare.com/folder/1062617-7a3 Link to Photos of the Wildlife Safari with Religious Leaders: http://divshare.com/folder/1059026-3c2 Media Contacts: Sarah Fogel; Mobile +(202) 446 8709; Sarah.fogel(at)wwfus(dot)org Monica Echeverria; Mobile +(202) 378 3396; Monica.echeverria(at)wwfus(dot)org ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND WWF is the worlds leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit http://www.worldwildlife.org to learn more. More information on South African experience at : http://southafricanexperience.com/african-religious-leaders-join-forces-to-help-stop-illegal-wildlif e-trade/ 4/4Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)