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Commission consults on how EU can fight against dramatic increase in wildlife trafficking

The number of African elephants illegally killed has doubled over the last decade, with 22 000 killed by poachers in 2012; rhinoceros poaching has escalated in South Africa, with rhino horn selling at EUR 40 000/kilo; and poaching now accounts for 78 % of Sumatran tiger deaths. Tiger bones sell for EUR 900/kilo.

7th February to 4th April 2014

Brussels, 7 February 2014

 

Commission consults on how EU can fight against dramatic increase in wildlife trafficking

The Commission has launched a public consultation on how the EU can be more effective in combating wildlife trafficking. This comes in response to a recent global surge in poaching and illegal wildlife trade, which is now at unprecedented levels for some species. More than 1000 rhinoceroses were poached in South Africa in 2013, compared to 13 in 2007, for example, and rhino horn is now more valuable than gold. The EU is a major destination market and an important transit point for illegal wildlife products, with organized crime playing an increasing role.

 

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.
Janez Poto─Źnik,
Environment Commissioner,
European Union

 

 

 

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.
Cecilia Malmström,
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs,
European Union

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments can be submitted at http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ until 10 April 2014.

Next Steps
The results of this consultation and the outcome of a conference to be held on 10 April 2014 will feed into a review of existing EU policies and measures in this area, with a view to helping the EU play a more effective role in addressing the problem.

Background
Wildlife trafficking (the illegal cross-border trade in biological resources taken from the wild, including trade in timber and marine species) is not a new phenomenon, but its scale, nature and impacts have changed considerably in recent years.

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 organised crime networks in the EU and beyond.

The number of African elephants illegally killed has doubled over the last decade, with 22 000 killed by poachers in 2012; rhinoceros poaching has escalated in South Africa, with rhino horn selling at EUR 40 000/kilo; and poaching now accounts for 78 % of Sumatran tiger deaths. Tiger bones sell for EUR 900/kilo.

Wildlife trafficking deprives many of the world’s most marginalised people, including indigenous communities, of important opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. Its links with corruption and illicit money flows, through money laundering for instance, undermine the rule of law and good governance. It also fuels regional instability in Central Africa, where some militia groups are using revenues from wildlife trafficking to fund their activities. It undermines biodiversity and therefore threatens the health of vital ecosystems.

For more information:
You can fill in the consultation here:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations_en.htm#open

See also:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/home_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/trafficking_en.htm

MEMO Questions & Answers: MEMO/14/91

Contacts :
Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)
For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail Joseph.Hennon@ec.europa.eu

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