Who In The World Is Killing Africa’s Wildlife?

Who In The World Is Killing Africa’s Wildlife?

The statistics are horrifying.

Since 2013, a rhino has been killed every 11 hours by poachers, the Zoological Society of London estimates. Rhino poaching in Africa reportedly increased 43 percent between 2011 and 2012 and it’s still going up.

In two years, more than 10 percent of the total African elephant population has been killed for ivory — a toll that is unsustainable, according to the Zoological Society of London.

Since 2000, more than 1,000 tigers have been poached. There are thought to be 3,500 left in the wild.

The U.K.’s Princes Charles and William released an unusual joint father-and-son video this week urging people worldwide to unite and stop the illegal wildlife trade, CNN.com reports.

The video release coincided with the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, now under way, hosted by the U.K.  government. The conference is part of a week of events aimed at stopping the slaughter of endangered animals for their bones, hides or tusks — much in demand in parts of Asia, according to CNN.

William is president of United for Wildlife, an organization that brings together his royal
foundation and the world’s top wildlife charities. He said Wednesday he would use its
global leverage to make a difference at a time when the illegal wildlife trade takes the lives of 100 elephants a day.

William and Charles are among the high-profile guests expected to speak at the conference including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and the presidents of Botswana and Gabon.

“The forces that are currently destroying some of the world’s endangered species are
sophisticated and powerful,” William said. “But this week, we are seeing the creation of an equally powerful alliance, coming together to help fight them.

“The commitments set out (at the conference) will begin to address the challenges of protection, enforcement and demand reduction. We will use our combined resources to ensure they succeed.”

The organization plans to use smart technology such as GPS and drones to protect animals at risk.

It also intends to work with governments and local groups to send out the message that no one should trade or buy rhino horn, ivory, tiger or pangolin parts and products, CNN reports.

United for Wildlife will bolster efforts to bring those involved in the illegal wildlife
trade to justice and to support local communities whose livelihoods are affected by the
trade, the group said.

U.S. Interests

U.S. President Barack Obama signed off Tuesday on a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking stating ways to stem the illegal trade, according to CNN.

Its priorities: strengthen enforcement, reduce demand for illegally trafficked wildlife and work more closely with international partners.

“Wildlife trafficking is both a critical conservation concern and a threat to global security
with significant effects on the national interests of the United States and the interests of
our partners around the world,” the document says.

It acknowledges the U.S. is “among the world’s major markets for wildlife and
wildlife products, both legal and illegal” but also points to demand for ivory and rhino horn
in Asia, “from a rapidly expanding wealthy class that views these commodities as luxury goods that enhance social status.”

William has been a patron of the wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust since 2005. He was criticized Saturday in U.K. newspaper The Sun for reportedly going on a boar-hunting trip to Spain with brother Prince Harry a day before launching a campaign to stop wildlife being killed. Wild boar hunting is legal in Spain. The prince may only be guilty of bad timing, CNN reports.

In the joint video, recorded in November, Charles said it was time to approach the illegal wildlife trade “like a battle, because it is precisely that.” He said sophisticated weapons are used by poachers and their criminal activity threatens economic and social stability in the affected countries.

William said that he and his father were optimistic the tide can be reversed.
“We have to be the generation that stopped the illegal wildlife trade, and secured the future of these magnificent animals, and their habitats, for if we fail, it will be too late,” the
younger prince said.

William, whose son George was born last summer, said that since becoming a father, he has become “even more devoted to protecting the resources of the Earth for not only my own son but also the other children of his generation to enjoy.”

The video ends with the pair saying, “let’s unite for wildlife” in Arabic, Vietnamese, Swahili, Spanish and Mandarin.

The hope is that it will be understood by as many people as possible living in the countries most affected by the illegal wildlife trade.