Greed and the desire for “trophies” have resulted in a boom in illegal wildlife trafficking. This gruesome trade is rapidly pushing the earth’s endangered species toward extinction, and fuelling corruption, conflict and inequality.
Wildlife trade is a complex issue, filled with examples of the intense pressures of poverty, lack of enforcement, governmental corruption, and the careless demand for wildlife products by global consumers destroying our world’s most precious species, and it must stop.
The facts reflect the urgency of this crisis:
- 35,000 elephants a year are killed for ivory.
- Poaching of rhinos went up 9,000% from 2007-2014.
- 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins.
- A 2014 survey showed there may only be 3,200 wild tigers left in Asia.
- 3,000 great apes are illegally killed or stolen from the wild each year.
JGIs 'Jane’s Traffic Stop' campaign is working to stamp out wildlife trade for good. This movement needs you!
- Raise awareness about the issue of wildlife trafficking and empower individuals to use their voice to help bring an end to this trade, and to ask questions and get the facts before buying any wildlife product.
- Urge governments to protect threatened animal populations by increasing law enforcement, imposing strict deterrents, reducing demand for endangered species products and honoring international commitments made under CITES.
NEW ZEALAND'S IMPACT ON WILDLIFE TRADE
New Zealand is most surely included in the web of illegal wildlife trafficking. Items regularly coming to or across the New Zealand border include ivory, rhino horn, coral, shells, leather products, seahorses, butterflies, turtles, tortoises, and crocodiles. Also skulls of primates and alligators, leopard and tiger skin, and parts of the critically endangered pangolin.
Traditional medicines containing ingredients that come from a range of endangered animals including from tiger claws, lion bones, rhino horn, pangolin, bears, turtles and more.
IVORY TRADE: TIMELINE & NEW ZELAND INVOLVEMENT
- 1975 & 1977 Elephant listed on CITES to protect from potential harms of international trade.
- 1979 African Elephant population 1.3 million
- 1988 Elephant population cut in half despite after 10 years of “regulated” international ivory trade
- 1989 Global ban on elephant ivory trade (CITES agreement) – New Zealand: Allow ivory through the NZ boarder with a CITES certificate or permit. Domestic trade of ivory items allowed to continue (with no checks on source of items) and assumption all ivory items here legally. Illegal 'product on' trade continues the demand.
- 2009 onwards Elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade accelerates to unprecedented levels
- 2014 Dr. Goodall joined prominent New Zealanders in an open letter to the New Zealand government urging a complete ban on all ivory trading in New Zealand and to crush the Crown's confiscated ivory stockpile. "When the buying stops, the killing can too".
- 2014 TradeMe committed to no longer allowing trade in any items that contain ivory (and products containing other endangered species).
- 2016 Research published IFAW Under the Hammer Report – Nine month investigation showed that hundreds of items in the domestic ivory trade market in New Zealand are traded at auction houses without papers to verify age or source. More than 60% ivory items being sold in New Zealand are carvings and tusks (not ivory-handled cutlery and serving ware). No checks and balances on domestic trading means if ivory gets into New Zealand illegally it can easily be sold on the domestic market and make money.
- 2016 Historic international decisions(at CITES and IUCN) to close all domestic ivory markets – Key reason – to stop legal markets providing cover for an illegal market to operate. New Zealand voted for in support, but has not acted on this.
- Domestic ivory markets are steadily closing around the world – United States, China, Hong Kong, France, United Kingdom, European Union, Taiwan. Current Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into the trade.
- 2018 London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade 11th 12th October – Conference will focus on tackling global wildlife trade as a serious crime; build coalitions to stop it; and closure of markets. New Zealand has been invited.
CURRENT STATUS OF IVORY TRADE IN NEW ZEALAND
Despite international commitments and actions, New Zealand, a party to CITES, is still allowing a domestic ivory trade market to exist.
Despite an international ban on commercial ivory trade since 1989, the 2016 study showed that the majority of items being trade 'legally' in the New Zelanad domestic market are being traded without the supposed necessary papers. This trade and demand contributes to the current elephant poaching crisis in Africa.
As Africa continues to lose one elephant every 25 minutes to the illegal ivory trade, New Zealand, seemingly unconcerned—or perhaps uninformed—allows the domestic trade of tens of thousands of dollars each year in ivory.
HOPE IN ACTION - NO DOMESTIC TRADE
JGINZ is calling on New Zealand to close the domestic ivory trade market.
It is time that New Zealand ends its contribution to the trade in wildlife - Act now to say No Domestic Trade
To potential New Zealand buyers:
- Refrain from purchasing any elephant ivory or rhino horn products. If purchasing, only do so where appropriate certification and/or provenance information is provided prior to purchase.
- Report any instances of suspect wildlife trade to the relevant enforcement authorities in New Zealand - firstname.lastname@example.org
To the New Zealand Government:
- Introduce offence provisions for cases where wildlife are offered for sale without the necessary proof of legality. This will place legal responsibility for the sale of wildlife products on prospective sellers.
- Increase resources to relevant management and enforcement authorities to ensure international and domestic regulations concerning the trade in wildlife products are being enforced.
Closing The New Zealand Domestic Ivory Market
- Remove the financial value from the ivory.
- Reduce the opportunity for illegal items to be laundered through the legal market.
- Send a clear message that New Zealand no longer considers ivory to be an acceptable commodity.
- The ban would not affect the ownership, inheriting, donating or bequeathing of ivory items where this is currently allowed.
- Ensure New Zealand is aligned with the international commitments it has made and is part of the solution to the global wildlife trade crisis.
To read more about how New Zealand is contributing to the demise of elephants and rhinos read "Under the Hammer", a 9-month investigation into the ivory and rhinoceros horn trade at auction houses in Australia and New Zealand, co- authored by JGI New Zealand Ambassador, Fiona Gordon.
Fiona Gordon is a New Zealand based environmental policy analyst who has been researching and taking action on the global illegal wildlife trade issue since 2013, with particular interest in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and related New Zealand policy, legislation and trade data.
By supporting JGI people are helping us fight wildlife crime. These are the ways in which JGI helps the fight.
Removing Lethal Snare-Traps from Uganda’s Forests
Snare traps are a cruel (and illegal) hunting method used by poachers to snare animals. These traps kill indiscriminately, and many endangered animals are maimed and killed by these devices. At least 25 percent of chimpanzees living in Uganda are suffering from a snare-related injury.
JGI has an established special snare removal programme. Through this programme, JGI employs community members to find and remove these traps from the forest. Often these people are former poachers themselves, who know best where to find these traps. By employing community members JGI provides them with an alternative to illegal poaching in the form of saving the wildlife they once hunted.
Educating Local Communities About Wildlife Crime
‘Bushmeat’ is meat from wild animals that have been hunted in their natural habitat, and is widely sold at markets all over the Congo Basin. Unfortunately, the meat from endangered species, such as chimpanzees, can be found in these markets. Not only is killing great apes for meat killing off populations of these endangered primates, it is illegal.
To encourage people to stop hunting great apes, JGI’s billboard campaign brings awareness to areas where the bushmeat trade is especially active. These billboards are placed on roads to markets, and explain that it is illegal to violate wildlife protection laws, and those that do so risk prosecution. They also encourage people to consider endangered species like chimpanzees and gorillas as part of their national heritage. Something worthy of protection. JGI also reaches out to the same audience via radio advertisements with a similar message.
Providing A Home For Confiscated Chimpanzees
It is illegal to keep a chimpanzee as a pet in the countries in which JGI works, but that doesn’t stop some poachers from selling young chimpanzees into the illegal exotic pet market. A problem faced by law enforcement officials when enforcing this law is what to do with a chimpanzee that is confiscated from a poacher, or someone who is keeping one as a pet.
JGIs Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in Africa and cares for animals left maimed, injured, ill and suffering deep psychological wounds. They, however, are the lucky ones. The infants who do not make it to Tchimpounga are often trafficked into the illegal exotic pet or entertainment trades, destined to lead short, lonely lives filled with pain and abuse. Tchimpounga not only supports enforcement of anti-poaching and illegal exotic pet laws by giving officials a place to take confiscated chimps. Tchimpounga also commits to the lifetime care of every chimpanzee brought to the sanctuary. Chimpanzees at Tchimpounga are nursed back to health and eventually join their peers and form life-long bonds with other chimpanzees in their group.
Providing Sustainable Livelihoods
Poaching is illegal and a serious wildlife crime, but often those who hunt for bushmeat are only doing so out of necessity, to feed their families. JGI helps address this issue by providing families in target areas with alternative, sustainable livelihood options.
These livelihoods include beekeeping, growing fruit trees and breeding livestock. Through these legal and more environmentally-friendly opportunities, people who were once forced to engage in wildlife crime activities can instead provide for their families and communities while easing the pressure on local wildlife.
Visit our No Domestic Trade 1-Click campaign and send a letter to the New Zealand government to urge the end of the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn in New Zealand.
Share what you’ve learned. #NoDomesticTrade #JanesTrafficStop
We must tell the world that wild animals were not put on the earth to be hunted to extinction and sold off in pieces as trinkets and trophies. We also must not support the business of wildlife trafficking, and shop with a greater awareness to avoid buying illegal animal products or support companies that do. Each of us is only one voice in the fight to stop illegal wildlife trafficking, but together our message will be impossible to ignore.