Big wins in the war against wildlife crime

When poaching of elephants, rhinos and tigers skyrocketed to meet illegal demand for wildlife products, WWF and TRAFFIC launched a global campaign to mobilize action. Together with partners and with supporters like you, we were able to make a big difference!

Some of the year's many achievements are captured here. There is still hard work ahead, but we will keep fighting to ensure a future for these species in the wild.

We are standing firm. Thanks for joining us on the frontline!



 


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© WWF-Indonesia / Tiger Survey Team © WWF-India © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon © CK Wong © naturepl.com / Mark Carwardine / WWF-Canon © Michael Poliza © WWF Greater Mekong © Sameer Singh - WWF AREAS and Tiger Programmes © Candice Bate WWF-Zimbabwe

Better protection

  • After foreign poachers killed 300 elephants in a Cameroon park, the country sent an elite military force of 600 soldiers to guard its borders, and began recruitments for 2,500 additional rangers.
  • In China, man’s best friend has been enlisted to detect illegal wildlife products. New sniffer dogs are undergoing a rigorous training regime before being deployed for duty.
  • New technology has given ecoguards in Nepal eyes in the sky to spot poachers. With support from Google, WWF is also teaching rangers in Namibia how to use conservation drones.
  • In a landmark agreement, South Africa and Viet Nam came together to face the scourge of rhino poaching.
  • In Gabon, a special “Jungle Brigade” with elements from the police forces has been created to investigate wildlife crime cases.
 / ©: WWF Canon / James Morgan
Many new rangers have been recruited in recent months and now they are taught military tactics to combat poachers.
© WWF Canon / James Morgan

Tougher penalties

  • A rhino horn smuggler in South Africa was sentenced to a jail term of 40 years for his role in a crime syndicate that orchestrated poaching.
  • After citizens took to the streets to march against poaching, Kenya has put forward a new wildlife law that increases penalties.
  • In Russia, a tiger poacher was sentenced to 14 months disciplinary labor and a $18,500 fine for shooting one of the rare cats.
  • Japan moved to set prison sentences for wildlife crimes up to 5 years.
  • Guns and ammunition used to kill elephants has been banned across Gabon. The country is also revamping its legislation to strengthen penalties.
  • WWF supporters in the UK sent 5,000 letters to their representatives asking that wildlife enforcement be allocated more resources.
  • Members of the UN’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal justice passed a resolution declaring illicit wildlife trafficking to be a “serious crime” requiring sentences of 4 years or more.
 / ©: WWF Canon / James Morgan
Poaching and smuggling of wildlife products is now treated as serious by police, militaries and courts in many countries.
© WWF Canon / James Morgan

New champions

  • Thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and YOU, WWF together with Avaaz, secured 1.6 million petition signatures asking Thailand to ban ivory sales.
  • Gabon President Ali Bongo destroyed guns and ivory tusks seized from poachers in a fiery display of zero tolerance. Philippines followed by crushing 5 tonnes of ivory.
  • Other African heads of state including Botswana President Ian Khama, South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta have also expressed deep concern over wildlife trafficking.
  • At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon reported to the Security Council that poaching and smuggling is a “grave menace” to peace and security.
  • Warning that wildlife crime also threatens economies, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka joined WWF to launch The Marrakech Declaration, an action plan for cooperation between countries.
  • In his London palace, Prince Charles and his son Prince William welcomed governments from around the world to explore ways to stop the slaughter.
  • Countries failing to uphold their commitments under CITES, the UN treaty that regulates international wildlife trade, were warned to clean up their act or face possible economic sanctions.
  • Member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation declared their commitment to strengthen efforts to combat the illegal trade in wildlife.
  • As US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton initiated Wildlife Conservation Day at embassies around the world. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee also took up the issue under the leadership of then Senator John Kerry. 
  • At ceremonies in Nairobi and Bangkok, religious leaders from across Africa and from the Thai Buddhist community offered their voices in prayer and in support of the protection of threatened species.
 / ©: WWF Canon / James Morgan
Gabon President Ali Bongo burned his country's seized ivory in a display of zero tolerance.
© WWF Canon / James Morgan
 / ©: WWF Korolczuk
WWF is working with religious leaders thought our Sacred Earth programme.
© WWF Korolczuk

Addressing demand

  • In front of 178 governments, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged to close the country’s ivory markets for good.
  • In Viet Nam, 65 million mobile phone subscribers are receiving SMS text messages asking them to say no to rhino horn.
  • In China, the biggest players in e-commerce have cracked down on the sale of illegal wildlife products like tiger bone wine.
  • In Central Africa, leaders joined together to ask ivory consumer countries in Asia to take action to stop demand that is killing elephants while also pledging to do more at home.
  • Our South African Rhino Raid game has been downloaded over 500,000 times; mostly from Asia where demand for rhino horn is highest.
 / ©: WWF THAILAND
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pledged to close the country's ivory markets after a petition by WWF, Avaaz and Leonardo DiCaprio.
© WWF THAILAND
We would like to extend special thanks to Fondation Segré for partnering with WWF to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The foundation’s leadership gift in support of this global effort is enabling us to take action at the highest levels and make a real difference for the future of endangered species. Thank you for this crucial support.

We would also like to thank Fondation Philanthropia for its support to our illegal wildlife trade campaign, as well as all WWF members who have supported this work through donations to their national WWF offices.

Fondation Segre

 / ©: Fondation Segre
 

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Infographic

  •  The WWF Wildlife Crime Scorecard report selects 23 range, transit and consumer countries from Asia and Africa facing the highest levels of illegal trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts.

Media Contact

  • Alona Rivord
    Manager, Conservation Communications
    WWF International
    Gland, Switzerland

    P: +41 22 3649250
    arivord@wwfint.org

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