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United for Wildlife: Briefing and Solutions from London Conference


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Read and download the United for Wildlife solutions document that the Duke of Cambridge presented at the ZSL London conference about the International Wildlife Trade.
United for Wildlife has identified the following commitments as its key areas of focus:

• To strengthen site protection on areas that contain target species with the roll out of SMART technology (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) such as satellite nodes, ground sensors, GPS trackers and drones;
• To reduce the demand of illegal trade products by working with Governments and other organisations, such as marketing experts and youth leaders, to encourage appropriate consumer messaging to those who buy rhino horn, ivory, tiger and pangolin parts and products;
• To engage with the private sector to encourage a 'zero-tolerance' approach towards the illegal wildlife trade. This may include working with businesses that may be unwittingly drawn into the trade chain;
• To support the judiciary and local authorities in their efforts to fight wildlife crime;
• To support local communities, whose livelihoods are directly affected by the illegal wildlife trade.

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United for Wildlife: Briefing and Solutions from London Conference

  1. 1. briefing and solutions 12th February 2014 ROYALROUNDATION.COM
  2. 2. introduction Many of the world’s wildlife species are in crisis. Today, driven by corruption, greed and demand, we see extraordinary levels of poaching and illegal trade in large, charismatic mammals like elephants, rhinos and tigers, posing a serious threat to their survival. This threat goes far beyond these iconic species and encompasses many other species, such as pangolins – in the eyes of some, less charismatic and certainly less well studied animals, but nevertheless, representative of the wide array of species threatened by the illegal wildlife trade. United for Wildlife (UfW) is an unprecedented collaboration between seven international conservation organisations, convened by HRH The Duke of Cambridge and committed to focusing increased attention and action on the most pressing conservation issues of our time. With the support of The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, UfW will bring attention to acute conservation problems, the most pressing of which is the rapid escalation of the illegal wildlife trade. This is having a devastating effect on wild populations of some of the largest and most iconic species: elephants, rhinos and tigers as well as lesser known animals such as the pangolin. In response, UfW commissioned a review of the impact of this trade by TRAFFIC, leading to an action plan that could be implemented by UfW organisations, above and beyond the current work they are doing. This also includes recommendations for actions for our Government partners. This initiative will achieve two key objectives: a) ensuring that UfW partners work together more collaboratively to achieve a greater impact on the illegal wildlife trade on a much larger scale, and b) bringing new funding to the vital effort to reduce the trade and its devastating consequences. In addition to the UfW partnership, we know that many other actors will need to join the global effort to reduce the illegal wildlife trade. We will wholeheartedly work with a broad range of Governments, NGOs, industry and consumers to restore wildlife populations to healthy levels.
  3. 3. elephants 2011 – AN ANNUS HORRIBILIS FOR THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT The African Elephant population is estimated to be around 500,000 animals. Poaching on the continent has steadily increased since 2006, reaching a peak in 2011. At least 22,000 elephants are estimated to have been illegally killed across Africa in 2012. Poaching rates on average exceed population growth rates across monitored elephant sites, and elephant numbers may have been in overall decline since 2010. Of particular concern is the high level of poaching in Central and West Africa where elephant populations are considered to be regionally Endangered and Vulnerable respectively. Even areas traditionally considered elephant strongholds are not immune to the poaching surge; based on a census conducted in late 2013, Tanzania’s Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism estimated 66% of the elephants in Selous Game Reserve and its surroundings have been lost to poaching in just four years. The surge in poaching of African Elephants is reflected in the steady increase in large-scale ivory seizures, with illegal trade rising to the highest levels in at least 16 years in 2011 and remaining stable at unacceptably elevated levels through 2012. Preliminary indicators suggest that even higher levels of illegal trade may be reached in 2013. Of particular concern, these large-scale seizures typically indicate the participation of organised transnational criminal syndicates, which appear to be increasingly Asian-run but Africa-based operations, and have become progressively involved with the trafficking of large quantities of ivory from Africa to Asia. Asian Elephants are under threat too: illegal trade in live elephants poses a significant threat, opening the door to the ‘laundering’ of elephants from the wild as domesticated elephants destined for tourist camps, zoos, etc, as well as the possibility of ivory from wild elephants being passed off as originating from domesticated animals. China remains the main destination for this illegal ivory. Research shows the demand for ivory because of its ‘rarity’, ‘luxury’, and ‘status’ value emanates from Chinese middle and upper-middle class consumers; the middle class in China alone is forecast to increase from 350 million to 600 million people by 2020.
  4. 4. rhinos YEARS OF CONSERVATION WORK BEING UNDONE From the brink of extinction at the end of the 19th century when just a single population of some 20-50 animals remained in South Africa, the recovery of the southern White Rhino stands as one of the 20th century’s greatest conservation achievements. As a result of far-sighted and painstaking conservation and protection efforts in South Africa for nearly one hundred years, that handful of survivors has given rise to a population of more than 20,000 White Rhinos today. The other rhino on the continent, the Black Rhino, was also decimated by poaching to just 2,410 by 1995 but concerted conservation efforts, particularly involving local people, saw numbers recover to 5,081 animals by 2013. However, the recent upsurge in poaching since 2008, fed by a growing demand for rhino horn in Asia, mainly Vietnam, threatens to reverse these conservation successes. In 2013, South Africa, home to 83% of Africa’s rhinos, experienced the highest levels of rhino poaching for over 100 years when it lost 1,004 rhinos to illegal killing – compared to only 13 rhinos poached in 2007. Despite significant investment in anti poaching and trafficking measures, South Africa has recorded the most rhino losses on the continent, with 2,658 animals killed between 2008 and the end of 2013. There are also three species of Asian rhino, all of which are at risk from the illegal wildlife trade. Due to strong anti-poaching measures in India and Nepal, the Indian Rhino has increased to over 3,400 animals, but constant vigilance is needed as poaching pressure grows. The Sumatran and Javan Rhinos are among the most endangered species on earth, reduced to about 100 and 50 animals respectively, both at serious risk of extinction. The drastically changing nature of the demand for rhino horn has contributed greatly to this surge. Consumption is no longer only about traditional medicinal use but is now also driven by lifestyle and recreational choices, social status and corporate advancement. Rapid economic growth in Vietnam has given rise to increased wealth and disposable income and new uses for rhino horn; it’s promotion as a cure for cancer and other terminal diseases, as a means of demonstrating wealth, status and social connections through gift giving, and even consumption as a cure for hangovers. Marketing of rhino horn is now primarily through social networks, and not traditional medicine shops, although much of the ‘rhino horn’ for sale in Vietnam has been shown to be fake. Research tells us that the demand is generally from men over 40 who are educated, successful and influential individuals; important information when designing strategies to reduce demand. In light of these fast-changing dynamics, there is an urgent need to explore new approaches to understanding and influencing the drivers behind consumer demand for these products.
  5. 5. tigers KING OF JUNGLE NO MORE At the turn of the last century around 100,000 tigers ranged widely across Asia, from Turkey in the west to the eastern coast of Russia. By 2010 this iconic big cat’s numbers had plummeted to some 3,200 – 3,500 in the wild. Although habitat loss has been a major factor in this decline, the primary threat to tigers today is from poaching for the illegal trade in highvalue products like their skins, bones, meat and tonics produced from them. Over the last 14 years seizures have equated to, on average, a minimum of 110 tigers killed per year. In India alone an estimated 528 tigers have been poached since 2000. International trade in tigers and their parts and products was banned under CITES in 1975. China banned all use of tiger parts domestically in 1993. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners have mostly observed this ban, with the species officially removed from the Materia Medica. However, illegal trade has continued with most range states suffering poaching of tigers and some key countries clearly implicated in the trade routes from source to the consuming countries of China, Vietnam and Thailand. Demand has shifted from TCM to the use of bone in tonics, particularly tiger bone wine. While some may derive from captive sources, poaching and trafficking of tiger bones has continued. Skins too are often traded and are openly for sale in some places, with whole skins being used as a status item for decorative purposes. Whether poaching is mainly driven by the demand for skins or bones or both is unclear, but what is apparent is that the main driver is for their use as a status symbol.
  6. 6. pangolin SLIPPING AWAY UNDER THE RADAR Pangolins are unusual mammals covered in overlapping scales composed of keratin; the same substance as hair, nails and rhino horn. These scales have long been used in traditional Asian medicines and pangolin meat is also valued by Chinese communities, where it is consumed as a warming ‘winter’ meat and is believed to nourish the kidneys. Pangolins are also consumed as a source of protein throughout South-East Asia as well as South Asia. The primary threat to pangolins in Asia today is poaching, largely for the currently prohibited international trade in meat and scales; nevertheless, large-scale seizures continue to be made. Sunda Pangolins are the most frequently seized species (with more than an estimated 150,000 seized since 2000), with single shipments often equating to more than 1,000 individual animals. All four Asian pangolin species are at risk, with Chinese and Sunda Pangolins considered by experts to be Critically Endangered. With the depleted supply in Asia, there is some evidence (from recent seizures) that African species are now being exploited to supply the Asian market. With the sustained fast-paced economic growth in the primary markets of China and Vietnam in the last two decades, demand will likely only grow. As with rhino horn, the rarity of pangolins, their high value and the notion of illegality appear to add to their desirability in Vietnam.
  7. 7. impact WILDLIFE CRIME UNDERMINES THE RULE OF LAW AND MORE Today, there is growing recognition of wildlife crime’s links to wider issues of global and national interest – wildlife crime is now clearly seen as undermining rule of law, as an agent of corruption, a barrier to economic development and as a national security risk. The impacts of illegal trade stretch well beyond the threat to the target species. Local people, who hold rights or stewardship authority to conserve, use and manage wildlife species are having their livelihoods eroded by poaching. Wildlife rangers risk their lives to protect countries’ wildlife resources, while national economies lose their natural resources and have to divert efforts into tackling poaching. Evidence shows the increasing involvement of organised crime groups in illegal wildlife trade, often using established networks and syndicates for smuggling drugs, arms and humans. Wildlife trade also facilitates money laundering from other illegal activities. This undermines the rule of law and good governance, creating potential havens for other groups, with some (though limited) evidence to suggest that this stretches to terrorist organisations. Corruption, collusion and simply a lack of political will to enforce laws all combine to facilitate widespread illegal trade from source to consumer countries. Increased Asian private sector investment in Africa has meant more foreign nationals are able to develop these trading links. While recent years have seen unsustainable levels of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, in response there have been unprecedented levels of attention and commitment to stopping wildlife crime from the highest political levels and from international organisations and institutions, for which wildlife crime was once only of peripheral interest. This high-level engagement may be the best opportunity we have to stop illegal wildlife trade. Political will may fade but actions we take now must be designed to have longterm and sustained impact. The expansion of the engagement of organised crime syndicates and other criminal organisations in wildlife crime necessitates an equally organised, scaled-up response from governments and NGOs alike.
  8. 8. responses needed to end the illegal wildlife trade 1. trengthen site protection, including national S commitment to protection and patrolling, local incentives for conservation and the use of new technologies: More resources are needed for increased and better-targeted anti-poaching actions using innovative tools and technology, and for more well-trained, equipped and motivated enforcement personnel. At the same time, efforts are needed to provide positive incentives for local communities to support local conservation actively, in particular to improving livelihoods as a direct result of taking part on conservation. Both of these will lead to stronger protection at the site level, reducing illegal hunting, improving enforcement and making it harder for criminals to acquire illegal wildlife products. 2. Action to expose and suppress trafficking: Adequate resources and tools are needed to catch and punish criminals and ensure the private sector does not facilitate illegal trade. Messaging about the damaging impacts and seriousness of wildlife crime needs to be reinforced regularly. Laws must be adequate to punish the crimes and the judiciary encouraged to implement them to bring traffickers to justice. Justice Ministries need to ensure that judges and prosecutors recognise the seriousness of such illegal activities and that penalties imposed provide an effective deterrent. Unless all appropriate government departments are involved and motivated, commitments made and actions taken by governments to address wildlife crime are likely to be uncoordinated and will fail to address the issue effectively. The private sector must understand the role they may play, whether wittingly or unwittingly, in enabling illegal trade and how to avoid perpetrating it. This must include strong efforts to expose and stop corruption at all levels. 3. Reduce consumer demand: Without focused effort to address the main driver of the current poaching crisis – the demand for these products – enforcement action alone may prove futile. Approaches to reduce demand in the past have often focused on raising awareness of the illegality of buying products through advertising campaigns often based around the threats to the species. However, as evidenced with rhino and pangolin consumption in Vietnam, the very fact that some species are rare may increase their desirability. Such approaches may not only be of limited effectiveness but may even fuel demand. Understanding of demand reduction strategies must be developed, learning from advances in disciplines such as behavioural economics and new marketing approaches and based on a clear understanding of the attitudes and behaviours that need to be changed, the factors that influence them, and the triggers that can shift them. 4. Long-term commitment: Different players, whether governments, NGOs, academics, the private sector, or the public have various roles to play in implementing these responses. Urgent and immediate actions are needed now but without long-term commitment, short-term wins are unlikely to lead to a sustained reduction in the threat. A strong evidence base is vital in order to know who to target, where to target and how to target effective solutions.
  9. 9. United for Wildlife solutions The UfW partners discussed the most urgent and effective actions they could undertake together as NGOs in order to achieve longterm reduction in the illegal wildlife trade and the threat that it poses to the species and local communities that are affected. UfW partners will collaborate on the following areas of activity: for protection of high-value species at over 65 sites (with a strong emphasis on community incentives). Strengthening Site-based Protection Reducing Demand With an extensive field presence and large network of collaborating institutions, United for Wildlife is in a strong position to rapidly improve conservation effectiveness at sites with commercially valuable species including rhino, elephant, tigers and pangolins. This will start with the immediate roll out of SMART, a Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, to over 200 sites that contain target species. SMART is designed to improve protection, increase ranger efficiency and evaluate overall progress in preventing crime. UfW partners will coordinate with other institutions with shared objective to ensure appropriate messaging is developed and consumer behaviour is influenced positively so that significantly fewer people buy illegal rhino horn, ivory, and tiger and pangolin parts and products. UfW partners will work with Government partners to: • Implement SMART at over 200 sites critical for rhino, elephants, tigers and pangolins and develop new technology to improve SMART monitoring and surveillance. • Develop a new United for Wildlife standard for sites with high-value species threatened by wildlife crime, including the identification of successful models for ensuring incentives for local communities to engage with and derive livelihood benefits from conservation. • Implement the United for Wildlife standard • Work with Governments and others including multilateral financial institutions, to increase significantly financial commitments to ending poaching and wildlife trafficking. UfW partners will: • eliver carefully researched, co-ordinated D strategies to reduce significantly demand for elephant, rhino, tiger and pangolin parts and products in China, Vietnam and Thailand. • ork with Governments and encourage them W to lead well researched demand reduction campaigns, using targeted strategies to influence consumer behaviour.
  10. 10. United for Wildlife solutions Strengthening Criminal Justice Responses T he adequacy of legal systems to deal with crimes relating to illegal wildlife trade varies between countries, as does the application of these. UfW aims to create incentives for the proper functioning of judicial processes by gathering information, providing this information for action to law enforcement, monitoring its use, and publicising successes. UfW partners will also provide capacity building assistance to judiciary and enforcement authorities so they are equipped with the know-how to do their jobs and appreciate the significance of their efforts in the context of wildlife crime. UfW partners will: • Establish a portal holding information on existing wildlife legislation, poaching, arrests, prosecutions, convictions and penalties data which can be used to shine a spotlight on wildlife crime and encourage governments to improve their wildlife prosecution record with the aid of champions and sanctions. • Improve the capacity of judiciary and enforcement authorities working to combat wildlife crime. • he UfW partnership will actively encourage T commitments from governments to: i. educe poaching of elephants, rhinos, tigers R and pangolins and trafficking of their products through significant improvements in law enforcement at all levels of the trade chain ii. mprove criminal justice responses for wildlife I crime, legislative reform where necessary and demonstrable increases in prosecution rates Private Sector Engagement Private sector businesses throughout the entire trade chain may be drawn into illegal wildlife trade either deliberately or unwittingly. UfW partners are committed to combating engagement in illegal wildlife trade by private sector employees (e.g. forestry, agricultural, mining, transport, power industries, financial institutions, retail businesses, tourism and safari-hunting operators) and in the use of company infrastructure and operations to facilitate such trade. This will be achieved through a combination of bolstering existing measures and developing and integrating new measures. Private companies will be encouraged to declare and implement a ‘zero-tolerance’ towards illegal wildlife trade while companies will be held accountable for increasing their sustainability in key business sectors where illegal wildlife trade poses a particular threat. A ‘zero-tolerance’ commitment will include agreement to undertake specific actions tailored to the company’s sector, designed to ensure that the company limits to the greatest extent possible its involvement in illegal wildlife trade. UfW partners will: • Secure zero-tolerance commitments towards illegal wildlife trade by leading private companies within each target sector. • ork with partners in key sectors such as W forestry, mining and transportation to formulate and introduce new industry standards to reduce illegal wildlife trade.