From: IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Published October 7, 2004 04:37 PM

CITES: A Force to be Reckoned With

(Bangkok, Thailand — 7 October 2004) — The battle against wildlife crime received reinforcements today when CITES Parties unanimously recommended tighter enforcement measures designed to crack down on illegal wildlife trade.


This result comes only five days after the Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, gave a call to arms to CITES Parties in the war against wildlife crime.


“Enforcement is the key to the success of CITES — the acceptance of this proposal is an important step towards reducing the multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife,” said Peter Pueschel, Head of IFAW CITES delegation.


“For the first time, CITES is taking wildlife law enforcement seriously. The adoption of these recommendations will give CITES teeth in combating the growing and increasingly sophisticated trafficking of endangered species.”


The proposal put forward by Kenya recommends regional law enforcement networks, cohesive national action plans to improve enforcement, improved training and capacity building for wildlife law enforcement officers, and improved collaboration between law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally.


Ineffective communication is often cited as a key cause of inadequate cooperation to combat wildlife crime highlighted in the Kenyan recommendation.


IFAW is working with Interpol to promote Ecomessage — a tool which improves the sharing of wildlife crime intelligence among international law enforcement agencies.


“IFAW is offering an award of $30,000 in training or law enforcement equipment to the agency that files the Ecomessage that makes the most significant contribution to the fight against criminals who illegally traffic in protected wildlife,” said Mr Pueschel.


“Supporting efforts on the ground, IFAW is also funding a specialized officer assigned to wildlife crime at the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France.


“With the world embracing initiatives such as Ecomessage and supporting moves to improve enforcement in countries and regions that need it most — we may at last see a reduction in the toll the illegal wildlife trade takes on our most endangered species.”


About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)


Founded in 1969, IFAW works to protect animals and their habitats. With offices in 15 countries around the world, IFAW works to protect whales, elephants, great apes, big cats, dogs and cats, seals, and other animals. To learn how to help animals, please visit www.ifaw.org.


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