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Royal Support for Actions Against the Illegal Animal Trade

Prince William has spoken out, first in an interview with Barack Obama and then in a talk to the World Bank, about the need to work together in order to tackle poaching against rhinos and elephants, calling the currently devastation ‘A loss for all humanity’.

To watch the video on the BBC news website, click here.

In my opinion, having notable figures standing up and taking notice of the situations occurring in Africa is one of the most vital steps needed in combating the problem, and there are few around the world more notable than the British Royal Family (and I’m not just saying that because I am British, honest).  In order to make people, ordinary people, actually sit up and take notice, there have to be figures who attract that attention. It may seem strange, that the Duke of Cambridge is speaking out about such a thing with the American President, neither of whom come from countries which really seem to have an role in the illegal trade of animals and related items at all… but it’s not really.

Poaching is just one form of animal trafficking that is going on in the world right now, after all. The illegal smuggling of living animals in the exotic pet trade is a situation that is still on going (there was a case about the man who managed to get baby tortoises into a country by smuggling them down his pants, wasn’t there?) and in order to raise awareness about where anything animal related has come from (and not just ivory artifacts), there has to be at least one person willing to speak out whom people already listen to.

And I’m pretty sure that Prince William and Barack Obama are people who are able to get others to listen; general public and the leaders of other countries alike.

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Despite the number of elephants and rhinos being killed, is stockpiled ivory being hoarded?

According to Alex Hofford, Hong Kong for Elephants representative who spoke out at a peaceful demonstration against legal ivory sales in Hong Kong, the total amount of legal ivory has only shifted by a few kilos in the past three years. The Hong Kong Government statistics state that apparently, there was 116.5 tonnes in 2011, 118.7 tonnes in 2012, and 117.1 tonnes in 2013.

The stockpiled ivory may not have shifted in regards to figures, but there are a total of 447 ivory license holders in Hong Kong; retailers which are only permitted to trade stockpiled ivory (ivory obtained before the ban 1989), as stipulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Many believe the lack of loss of stockpiled ivory to be due to the creation of a loophole through which freshly poached ivory is laundered by traders into a quasi-legal market in Hong Kong, which provides access to mainland China – the region of the world where the greatest demands exist.

“Hong Kong’s ivory traders have had more than 25 years to clear out their pre-1989 ban ivory stocks,” says Hofford, “But are still holding onto them so that they can provide a cover for new ivory to be sold.”

Is this true? Are thousands of elephants and hundreds of rhinos being killed every year when, in the countries that hold the most demand for their ivory, there are still over one hundred tonnes of ivory stockpiled, under the watch of the government?

{ To read the full story, click here }

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Central Africa has lost 64% of its Elephants in a decade;

100,000 elephants killed between 2010 and 2012, with the peak number of kills occurring in 2011 – where 1 in every 12 elephants was killed by poachers.

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A Successful Treatment;

On the 10th November 2014, one of Africa’s last Tuskers (known as Tim) has been successfully treated for a deep septic wound caused by a spear attack, most probably by a poacher.

Each step of the treatment process has been documented here.

Tim’s story provides evidence that not only can elephants survive poaching attacks, but with the correct support and well timed actions of dedicated humans, they can be treated successfully too.

“Tim” (sheldrickwildlifetrust)

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