Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Stars speak out: The illegal trade in wild animals must end

30 September 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Wildlife Trade News

Legendary actress, wildlife campaigner, and Born Free Foundation Founder Patron, Joanna Lumley OBE, has joined other big names including John Cleese, Virginia McKenna OBE, Vic Reeves and Nick Knowles, to speak out against the illegal trade in wild animals whilst the  Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference takes place in Johannesburg.

Charley Boorman, Lady Victoria Hervey, James Lewis, Nancy Sorrell and Wendy Turner Webster have also pledged support to Born Free’s work to protect endangered species, through a series of images set to be released on social media this week.

During a major week for wildlife, which has included the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos and the launch of incredible new photographic book ‘Remembering Elephants’, the Born Free CITES delegation, headed-up by President and CEO Will Travers OBE, is reiterating its stark warning to Governments around the world: there can be no trade in some of our most critically endangered wildlife.

Will Travers said: "There are perhaps 450,000 African elephants left on the planet. Maybe 25,000 wild rhino. Just 20,000 African lions. There are more than 7 billion human beings. How has it come to this? Our desire for ivory, rhino horn, shark fins, tropical timber, wild birds, reef fish, lion trophies, pangolin scales and means we are not just observing the end of life on earth, we are the single most profound cause of the next great extinction." 

“These are desperate times and without action the slide towards oblivion for some of our most iconic species will continue.”

In a new short film, ‘The Dead Planet Sketch’, also released this week by Born Free, legendary comedian, actor, writer, film producer and passionate conservationist, John Cleese, warns: “Our great planet is eating itself. And if we don’t act now and start thinking about the future, this Earth will become a biological desert within the lifetimes of our children. These creatures are iconic and very precious. They’re the only ones we’ve got.”

CITES aims to ensure that international trade in a species of animal or plant does not threaten their survival. The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties takes place from 24th September to 5th October in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will prove critical for key species including lions, tigers, rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, pangolins and various bird, reptile and plant species, which are rapidly facing extinction.

Donate to Born Free Foundation’s Rare Species Appeal here

Watch John Cleese present 'The Dead Planet Sketch' here

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