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The hidden cost of wildlife crime

The hidden cost of wildlife crime: four out of five animals die in transit

9 Dec 2014: World Animal Protection welcomes Prince William’s announcement for a taskforce to combat the role of transport in facilitating wildlife crime worldwide.

World Animal Protection in New Zealand’s Country Director, Bridget Vercoe said:

“Tiger cubs drugged in suitcases, 1,700 live animals found in the boot of a hatchback car and monkeys sedated and taped to a passenger’s body. These are just a few examples of the abhorrent ways that animals are transported by criminals after being torn from their habitats to be traded for money. We must act now to expose and disrupt the trade routes and criminals who are killing and harming the world’s wildlife.

“Our wildlife is in crisis, and the trade in live wildlife is causing some of the worst suffering imaginable. The shocking fact is that up to 80% of these animals die in transit, and many more will die within a year from the trauma of captivity.”

World Animal Protection welcomed this desperately needed initiative to bring together airlines, shipping companies and couriers, with animal welfare and conservation organisations to combat the hi-jacking of their transport services for wildlife crime. The commitment shown by HRH Prince William to combatting wildlife crime, keeps this urgent issue firmly on the global stage, said Bridget Vercoe.

“It is also extremely pleasing that New Zealand’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, is taking steps to stop this cruel trade by banning the carriage of all shark fins on its planes. It demonstrates the powerful role airlines can play in interrupting the supply chain and we urge them to continue to take a leadership role by considering additional bans on wildlife cargo.”

The illegal wildlife trade is now the fourth most lucrative transnational crime after drugs, arms and human trafficking. It is estimated to be worth between 10 and 20 billion dollars each year.


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