Dear Friends of Wildlife,
Every day we read in the newspapers, see on the TV, etc., the latest news about another seizure of wildlife products. It could be ivory going into Thailand; rhino horn going into Vietnam; bear body parts or pangolin scales going into China. While effective wildlife law enforcement in the field – in other words, protecting the living animals where they live is vitally important, as are efforts to reduce demand for these kind of products in consumer countries – the ability of border agencies to identify and intercept illegal wildlife products leaving their country, is also a key factor.
Inevitably, the capacity of an individual country to carry out border checks varies enormously – and even in some of the world’s most affluent countries significant illegal trade occurs. For example, it has been estimated that five tonnes of bushmeat (the meat of wild animals) is intercepted at Charles de Gaulle airport in France every week.
Imagine how challenging securing borders is in parts of Africa!
As a result of a successful bid for funding from the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, a fund established by DEFRA in 2014, Born Free is working with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) to implement a Border Point Project in the Horn of Africa in an effort to reduce trafficking of ivory and live animals such as cheetah, caught from the wild and shipped to the Arabian Gulf States as ‘exotic pets’.
You can find out more by going visiting the Born Free website.
In the last few weeks, another three cheetah were intercepted by the authorities and are now at Ensessakotteh, Born Free’s Rescue Centre, outside Addis Ababa. There they will live out the rest of their lives in the best possible circumstances we can provide – their chance of ever going back to the wild and contributing to the survival of their species is very slim.
Born Free hopes that through the Border Point Project and working with EWCA, the police, customs, military, judiciary, municipal officials and airport staff, over 10,000 officials will have a better understanding of both national and international wildlife laws. Armed with that knowledge we hope they will be able clamp down on wildlife crime.
I know that the criminal networks that make a killing trading either live wild animals or their body parts are highly entrepreneurial. I know they will always try to exploit the weakest link. The Ethiopian Border Point Project will make their lives more difficult, reduce levels of criminality – and save the lives of wild animals in the process.
It is just another way that, with your support, Born Free and our partners around the world are making a difference.