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February 26, 2016

EU Issues Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking

Humane Society International/Europe welcomes long-awaited plan to protect wildlife

Humane Society International/Europe

  • Vanessa Mignon

The European Commission has adopted a long-awaited EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking. Joanna Swabe, executive director of Humane Society International/Europe, issued the following statement:

“The time to take action against wildlife trafficking is not ripe, it is over-ripe. As the Commission itself has acknowledged, wildlife trafficking has reached unprecedented levels in recent years.  Species such as rhinos, elephants and pangolins are being driven towards the brink of extinction to satisfy an insatiable greed for profit. The EU is home to some of the biggest wildlife consumers in the world, and a major transit point for trafficked wildlife. Member States have a responsibility to ensure that existing legislation is properly implemented and enforced and to devote proper financial and manpower resources to be able to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade. This comprehensive EU Action Plan is a step in the right direction to cracking down on wildlife trafficking, but will be meaningless unless Member States demonstrate a strong commitment to follow through on the actions proposed.” 

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The EU Action Plan establishes a timeline for actions and outlines the EU’s key priorities:

  1. To prevent wildlife trafficking and address its root causes; to implement and enforce existing wildlife trade rules
  2. To more effectively combat organised wildlife crime, and
  3. To strengthen global partnerships to tackle wildlife trafficking 


  • Poaching and illegal wildlife trade threatens the survival of many of the world’s most cherished species including elephants, rhinos and tigers, and also lesser known creatures such as pangolins.
  • Each year, poachers kill 35,000 African elephants for their ivory and more than 1000 rhinos for their horns. Officials seize the parts of more than 100 tigers in the illegal wildlife trade. About 100,000 pangolins are trafficked.
  • The European Union is a major destination for trafficked wildlife and, with the numerous major airports with global connections, is also an important transit point.
  • HSI is working to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking by:
    • Advocating for strong international policies, laws and regulations at local, national, regional and international levels;
    • Supporting wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release programs;
    • Conducting public education campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for wildlife

Media Contacts:
US: Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 301.721.6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org
UK: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

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