World Leaders Gather at International Wildlife Trafficking Symposium in London

Government leaders from 50 countries will convene in London at the first-ever International Wildlife Trafficking Symposium on February 11 - 12. Photo by Koshy Koshy via Wikimedia Commons
Government leaders from 50 countries will convene in London at the first-ever International Wildlife Trafficking Symposium on February 11 – 12. Photo by Koshy Koshy via Wikimedia Commons

World leaders from 50 countries will have an unprecedented opportunity to develop a coordinated global response to the illegal wildlife trade as they convene for the International Wildlife Trafficking Symposium in London on February 11 and 12.

The symposium is hosted by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in order to provide a forum for sharing experiences from those involved in fighting wildlife crime, as well as those active in other, related fields that can provide insight in combating wildlife trafficking.

“The symposium will review the impacts of international wildlife trafficking; the most recent evidence on species affected, global security issues, transnational crime and links with poverty will be presented. The main focus of the symposium, however, is solutions.”

A video message by Prince Charles and Prince William was released over the weekend, in which father and son urge the public to “Unite for Wildlife!”. Prince Charles says,”We must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle, because it is precisely that.” The Prince of Wales and his son HRH The Duke of Cambridge will also attend events at the conference.

It is hoped that the London symposium will prompt government leaders to take meaningful action. All eyes will be on China — the world’s largest destination for illegal ivory, and other imperiled species, such as tigers and pangolins. Vietnam will also be in the spotlight for its involvement with South Africa’s rhino trade loopholes.

“Governments must use the London Conference to establish a road map for the response to the poaching threat,” said Steven Broad, executive director of TRAFFIC.

“We need a clear description of what actions will be taken and by whom. Most importantly, we need firm commitments to supply the financial, human and technical resources needed to ensure success.”

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has released a comprehensive report ahead of the conference, which examines international wildlife crime case histories, considers the successes and failures, and highlights the crucial lessons to be learned for better future enforcement and conservation. Download In Cold Blood.

If you’re not attending, you can watch a live stream of the conference and tweet questions to the speaker panel:

  • Watch the live stream of the event here
  • Following each session, there will be a panel discussion with the speakers. Tweet your questions to @OfficialZSL with the hashtag #IWTconf

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.