1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Mixed results for illegal wildlife trade congress

Klaus EsterlussMarch 25, 2015

In their final declaration, delegates underlined their commitment to pledges made in London last year. But the outcome also sparked anger among some conservation groups.

Elephant, falling to the ground (Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Image: picture-alliance/AP

Delegates at the second Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade agreed //www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/415690/review-progress-kasane-conf-150317.pdf: in their final declaration that poaching still is a "growing problem," driven by the demand for rhino horn, ivory and other animal products, especially in countries such as China or Vietnam. Here, smuggled goods - often traded from Kenya and Tanzania - are sold as artwork or jewelry, or end up as ingredients for traditional medicine.

The conference's final declaration accented the need to improve cooperation among countries on trading routes, strengthen prosecution mechanisms, and insure that local communities benefit from conservation. "Despite efforts to date for many species, the illegal trade, and the poaching which fuels it, is an ongoing and growing problem," the final statement said.

But the outcome also sparked anger among some conservation groups, regarding countries that signed the decleration in London last year but had not yet provided any evidence for delivering on their commitments.

"It is appalling that countries like Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can't show any headway whatsoever in slowing the slaughter," said Jason Bell of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in a statement.

"In Garamba National Park in the DRC, 30 elephants were killed in the week running up to this conference."

Illegal wildlife trade is worth $19 billion (17 billion Euro) a year, according to the IFAW. The number of rhinos killed in South Africa last year alone increased by 21 percent compared to 2013. According to Cites, the UN body dedicated to fighting the global poaching crisis, 20,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks in 2013 alone. That number did not change much in 2014. More than 60 percent of carcasses found across the continent were of animals that died at the hands of poachers.