Poachers recently shot one of the world’s largest elephants, Satao, then hacked his 100 pound tusks out of his face with a machete. At the current rate of killing, elephants may be extinct in 15 years. This week, if we act now, we have an amazing chance to crack down on the illegal trade that fuels the slaughter.
Each day, 50 regal elephants are butchered just to make dinky ivory trinkets! The main culprit for this carnage is Thailand — the fastest growing market for unregulated ivory. And tomorrow the international body created to protect endangered species has a chance to sanction Thailand until it cracks down on the elephant killers. Experts fear Thai leaders are mounting a propaganda campaign to dodge penalties, but it just takes Europe and the US to ignore their noise and spearhead action to end the slaughter.
Let’s give key European delegates, and the US, the global call they need to tune out Thailand and bravely lead the world to save the elephants.
A final decision could be made tomorrow, so we have no time to lose:
- Sign the petition here to send a message to the EU Environment Commissioner.
Wildlife crime is highly lucrative, and prosecutions are rare. The growing demand for illegal products has devastating consequences for a number of species already under threat. Wildlife trafficking has become one of the most profitable transnational criminal activities globally, driven by a high and growing demand for wildlife products, notably in Asia. Low levels of awareness, low risk of detection and low sanction levels make it particularly attractive for organized crime networks in the EU and beyond.
The changing scale of the problem has raised questions about how the EU can be more effective in fighting against wildlife trafficking. The Commission is therefore seeking views on ten questions related to wildlife trafficking, including the adequacy of the current framework, tools that might strengthen existing efforts to fight the problem, how the EU in particular can help, improving our knowledge and data, and the possibility of stronger sanctions.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Wildlife trafficking takes a terrible toll on biodiversity and we need to find ways of taking more decisive action. This consultation is a first step towards what I hope will be a major change in our approach”.
“Wildlife trafficking creates large profits for international organised crime groups. The Communication we adopt today sets out how all actors can work together to fight this crime more effectively”, echoed EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.
The EU has been active in the fight against illegal wildlife trade over the past decade, adopting strict trade rules for endangered species and providing large-scale support to anti-wildlife-trafficking efforts in developing countries. In Africa, the EU has committed more than EUR 500 million for biodiversity conservation over the past 30 years, with a portfolio of on-going projects worth approximately EUR 160 million.