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New fund to tackle animal trafficking in London

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-03 01:16

LONDON - A new plan to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade was given a $60 million boost on Monday ahead of landmark conference here.

Marking 100 days to go until the 2018 London Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Conference, the British government announced ambitious new plans and funding to tackle the illegal wildlife trade across the world.

The initiative was welcomed by Dominic Jermey, director general of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) one of the world's leading conservation organisations, which runs the London Zoo.

He said: "Wildlife across the globe is being slaughtered for its skin, scales, tusks and feathers. Whether it's elephants or rhinos, African grey parrots or pangolins -- IWT has put many species directly at risk. Fresh thinking is urgently needed by governments, working in partnership with NGOs, business and wider civil society, to tackle IWT."

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson set out a government ambition to reduce the illegal killing of African elephants for ivory by at least one third by 2020, and to further halve this rate by 2024.

"Achieving this will be another significant step to safeguard endangered species from extinction, in a decade of action since the 2014 London Declaration committed to fight the illegal wildlife trade," said a spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

To help make the ambition a reality, the government is to launch the Ivory Alliance 2024, bringing together a network of global leaders, conservationists and experts to engage with countries where ivory demand and trafficking is high. It will work with partners globally to increase the number of countries committed to domestic ivory bans to more than 30 by 2020 and for tougher enforcement against those caught breaking the law.

Johnson said: "More than 20,000 African elephants are killed every year, fuelling the despicable illegal ivory market and poachers' dirty profits. We need immediate and effective global action."

Projects that will receive funding include supporting eco-guardians and community enforcement networks to protect elephants, a "payback" scheme for the perpetrators of IWT and the development of best practice guidelines for the storage of seized illegal ivory. There will also be funding provided to disrupt the poaching affecting iconic species such as Sumatran tigers and snow leopards.

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