First year of the Wildlife Crime Initiative | WWF

First year of the Wildlife Crime Initiative

Posted on
11 January 2016
Following on from the successes of the WWF/TRAFFIC Illegal Wildlife Trade Campaign, it was clear that we needed a long-term coordinated effort to consolidate the political momentum and societal concern generated by the campaign. So we designed and initiated a 10-year collaborative programme of work – the WWF and TRAFFIC Wildlife Crime Initiative (WCI), write Elisabeth McLellan (WWF co-lead) and Crawford Allan (TRAFFIC co-lead)
 
The WCI is now rolling out a strong and catalytic body of work across the globe to help stamp out wildlife crime through the shared vision and expertise of WWF and TRAFFIC. The four WCI thematic pillars (poaching, trafficking, buying, and policy) have moved ahead with strong implementation of activities, founded on long-standing partnerships with governments, the private sector and civil society.
 
The WCI has taken full advantage of critical emerging opportunities, while leveraging the combined strengths of the wider WWF and TRAFFIC networks. It is too early to say what impact the WCI is having on actual numbers of some of our priority species, such as African elephants and African rhinos.

But there are some encouraging signs that the global movement and actions we have galvanized to combat wildlife crime are paying off.
 
Tiger numbers are inching up in some states, as are greater one- horned rhinos in India and Nepal. In 2013, we saw a slight levelling off in the poaching of African elephants, although the numbers are still unacceptably high. Countering wildlife crime has also been expanding more rapidly than any other environmental sector in recent years.
 
Tackling transnational organized wildlife crime will take time and a huge effort by all partners – and governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society groups and the private sector respect and trust WWF and TRAFFIC to help them lead the way.
 
WWF and TRAFFIC are helping to tackle poachers and traffickers head-on by working closely with law enforcement. We are also developing best practice models for widespread replication by promoting solutions that are sustainable and driven by the stakeholders themselves.
 
Everywhere there is a wildlife crime problem we have found allies and forged alliances that are going to
last. From local community stewards in Namibia to the US and Chinese presidents, the WCI has made its mark.
 
We have personally seen how the WCI has helped with penalties being strengthened, crime networks being disrupted, consumers rejecting illegal products, and wildlife being saved from poachers’ snares, bullets and poison.
 
You will read in this report how far-reaching our work is and how much hope we have for the future. It will not be easy but we are off to the best possible start
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