The UK government has announced it will commit funding and resources towards ending illegal wildlife trade internationally.
Ministers commemorated Earth Day yesterday, 22 April, by declaring £14.6 million (€16.88 million) would be distributed across 14 projects via the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. The schemes due to receive funding include:
- A campaign by Flora & Fauna International to cut market demand for products derived from marine turtles in Nicaragua;
- A project overseen by the Zoological Society of London aiming to “disrupt” the illegal buying and selling of grey parrots in Cameroon;
- Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s scheme to combat wildlife smuggling in Madagascar; and
- A campaign by the Wildlife Conservation Society to prevent trafficking of wildlife and boost anti-poaching measures in Uganda.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “The illegal wildlife trade is an international tragedy. These serious organised criminal networks do more than just damage wildlife – corruption and illegal activities undermine sustainable development and the rule of law, bringing misery to local communities. The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund is backing projects that will tackle the criminals at source and in countries that are destinations for items made from illegally traded plants and animals. Through the online education packs, we will make sure that younger generations understand the importance of not fuelling demand for products made from illegally traded wildlife. This will provide a strong legacy from last year’s Illegal Wildlife Trade conference for schoolchildren and teachers around the world. This is real progress to crack down on environmental crime. Working together, we can end this insidious trade.”
The government has pledged an additional £40,000 (€46,253.69) to the provision of educational packs and school resources in multiple languages, in the interest of raising awareness among children and young people of the dangers of the illegal wildlife trade. The packs have been produced by WWF-UK, the UK arm of the World Wide Fund For Nature; and wildlife education charity Tale2Tail.
Kate Studholme, CEO of Tale2Tail, said: “We need to ensure elephant and rhino don’t become the 21st century’s unicorn, only to be found on the pages of a book, so we have created an original and beautifully illustrated education pack to raise children’s understanding and awareness of illegal wildlife trade. With over 20 hours of lesson plans, including a play, it will engage children across the UK and international curriculum. By helping children find their voice on this crucial issue, Tale2Tail aims to change behaviour around the buying and selling of endangered wildlife.”