All of this is fueled by money and consumerism - the status of owning an exotic pet, or a trinket or animal part for a cure or ointment. The reality is, we can no longer ignore the huge cruelty behind the fourth most lucrative crime (after drugs, arms and human trafficking).
The announcement of a taskforce to combat the role of transport in facilitating wildlife crime worldwide, is desperately needed. Keeping this urgent issue firmly on the global stage is Prince William who will spearhead the taskforce, alongside the UK First Secretary of State, William Hague MP who will chair. It will bring together airlines, shipping companies and couriers, alongside animal welfare and conservation organizations to combat the hijacking of their travel services for wildlife crime. Our hope it that it will be a powerful new front in the battle against wildlife crime; disrupting trade routes and criminals who are killing and harming the world's wildlife.
And while previous efforts have focused on poachers at one end of the chain and traders or consumers at the other, there has not been enough focus on the routes and mechanisms that connect the two to facilitate this dreadful trade. Until now. I am proud that World Animal Protection has a well-established history of working closely with enforcement officials dealing with wildlife crime. Earlier this year we successfully campaigned to safeguard the future of the Metropolitan Police's Wildlife Crime Unit, which is leading the fight against wildlife crime in London. With our network of 1.7 million supporters worldwide, the organisation is extending this approach to campaign against the wildlife trade globally.