Forest conservation group Just Forests has welcomed today’s announcement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik that he has launched a public consultation on how the EU can be more effective in combatting wildlife trafficking.
“The proceeds from wildlife trafficking is now a major source of funds for criminal gangs and must be stopped”. “The numbers of ‘flag ship’ species such as the African elephant illegally slaughtered for their ivory tusks has escalated from 10,000 a decade ago to 22,000 in 2012.”
“The recent burglary of a rhino horn valued at over 200,000 EURO from the Cork home of well known Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley is testimony that the trade in wildlife parts is alive and flourishing in Ireland”. Rhinoceros horn has now become more valuable that gold with rhino horn selling for EURO40,000 per kilo.
“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.”
“Wildlife crime is highly lucrative, and prosecutions are rare. The growing demand for illegal products has devastating consequences for a number of species already under threat. The changing scale of the problem has raised questions about how the EU can be more effective in fighting against wildlife trafficking. The Commission is therefore seeking views on ten questions related to wildlife trafficking, including the adequacy of the current framework, tools that might strengthen existing efforts to fight the problem, how the EU in particular can help, improving our knowledge and data, and the possibility of stronger sanctions.”