Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking – with a £4.5 million fund.
The cash will be used to fund 14 new Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund projects, preventing the trafficking of animals, strengthening enforcement and criminal justice, and providing alternative livelihoods.
The money is part of a raft of plans to fight this crime which will be announced in the build-up to the London Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in October.
According to a Government statement: “Environmental Crime, which includes the illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging, is the fifth most lucrative serious organised crime and is estimated to be worth up to £17billion a year.
“The criminals who run this trade do more than damage wildlife – they use networks of corrupt officials and agencies to undermine sustainable development and the rule of law, bringing misery to local communities. Money made from this trade is used by criminal networks.
“This is why tackling the illegal wildlife trade is a priority for the UK government and why it’s so important that at this year’s conference in London we find new and effective ways of tackling this crime, by bringing global leaders together to tackle the strategic challenges of the trade.”
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Environmental challenges do not respect borders, and require coordinated international action. Our Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund is driving change to combat this despicable criminality.
“The 14 projects range across 27 countries and showcase measures from criminal justice to education. These priorities reflect our commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to work with other nations to stamp out this vile trade.
“The fund, alongside our introduction of one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales, shows our global leadership in protecting wildlife in its natural environment.”