2017 Review

Stephen Wiggins Article 1 Comment

A review of the year, as we head for 2018……best wishes for a ‘Happy New Year’ to you and yours.

Ivory Trade


Efforts continue to ripple out to try to curtail commercial ivory trading, stemming from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) Res. Cof. 10.10:

RECOMMENDS that all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.”

As China set out at the start of 2017  to curtail its domestic ivory markets, the demand and satisfaction for Chinese ivory worship has been ‘off-shored’ – Japan and Laos remain defiant to calls to shut their ivory trade, but hopefully will bow to international pressure to comply.

The United States of America has already made progress to end its domestic ivory markets.

There is a push to end the domestic trade of ivory in Australia.

In the United Kingdom and European Union on-going consultations will soon lead (hopefully) to comprehensive and enduring ivory trading restrictions, that will crush these regions’ contribution to perpetuating ivory worship and give respite to the planet’s dwindling elephant populations that are slaughtered by poaching syndicates seeking to illicitly cash-in.

Thanks must be given to the tireless dedication of Two Million Tusks to investigate and collate the United Kingdom’s categorical part in perpetuating ivory worship and the wilful incompetence of the United Kingdom’s antique industry’s complicity.

Rhino Horn Trade


In August 2017, John Hume held a ‘domestic’ on-line auction (available in Mandarin and Vietnamese) for rhino horn in South Africa. However, it was not a success – only 7 permits to buy rhino horn were issued by the DEA and in the end,  no sales were made of “horns or parts thereof” of the 264 lots on offer –  Ref. question (NW7441, dated 13 November 2017) raised by Mr T Z Hadebe to the DEA

The prospect of international rhino horn trading remains controversial, with many fundamentals  unknown, despite vociferous voices demanding risking such trade despite the unknowns.

Hunting Fragments


In November, hunting fragmented over its association with ‘canned’ breeding and hunting – however, the suspicion is that this development has more to do with hunting seeking to protect its ‘good reputation’ (sic) than any altruistic, moral endeavour.

We also have the ongoing ‘discussions’ of the United States of America’s lion and elephant hunting addiction “horror show – The USA’s hunting fraternity  dominate the international market for hunting trophies (and try to call it ‘conservation’). On the 22 December 2017, the D.C. Court of Appeals concluded that “That Sport Killing Won’t Help Zimbabwe’s Elephants” in response to the Centre for Biological Diversity and National Resources Defense Council challenge to the USA Interior Department’s regressive step to allow the import of lion and elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe.

Hopefully this court ruling will spur the Trump administration to finally revisit its decisions sanctioning the deaths of imperiled [sic] elephants and lions,” said Sanerib (Centre for Biological Diversity). “If these species are going to survive, the first step is to stop killing them.”

Canned Hunting

The South African ‘canned’ industry (and The Republic of South Africa, Department: Environmental Affairs (DEA) continue to fail to answer how this abhorrent industry supposedly makes a positive (and does not actually negatively) impact on conservation and not just profiteering – endangering wild lions and tiger populations.

Farewell to……

Wildlife advocate and humanitarian, Sir Roger Moore, plus the tragic loss of conservationist Wayne Lotter and artist and wildlife conservationist David Shepherd (CBE).

Sir Roger Moore – 14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017 

‘Sustainable’ Utilisation

Hunting continues to deceive, as do its supporters that masquerade as conservationists.



The utilisation and exploitation knows no bounds – donkeys skinned for yet another meaningless Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), hippopotamus poached and trafficked for ivory…….  

If anyone needed another example of how poor CITES trade management and oversight is, then the plight of the hippo serves as yet another example – in a 2017 study, it was found that the volume of hippo ivory imports declared by Hong Kong was substantially different than the quantity reported by the exporting countries (Uganda and Tanzania), with the source of some 14,000kg of hippo teeth unaccounted for and thereby deemed to stem from illicit activity (Note: 14,000 kg is equivalent to 2,700 hippos, or 2% of the world’s hippo population) – who can still maintain that ‘legal’ trade is not used and abused as a mask for illicit trafficking of poached wildlife?

The Slaughter of Cetaceans


‘Not ashamed’: dolphin hunters of Taiji break silence over film The Cove,” The Guardian, 11 December 2017

The ‘traditional’ slaughter in Taiji, Japan (some cetaceans are held captive for sale to aquariums, but the majority are slaughtered).

The Faroe Islands (a Kingdom of Denmark protectorate) continues to kill, for toxic whale meat:

In 2012 Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen published the full results of their study of the effects on human health of pilot whale meat consumption. The results were first brought to light in 2008 by Faroe Islands’ Chief medical officers when they announced that pilot whale meat and blubber contains too much mercury, PCBs and DDT derivatives to be safe for human consumption.

So why does the killing continue in the name of obtaining toxic meat unfit for human consumption? Or do the perpetrators just enjoy the killing?


We should not forget the outright illegal activity of Japan continuing to whale hunt in the Southern Ocean for example (in contravention of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banning commercial whaling in 1986 and the 31 March 2014 ruling from the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Japan to stop hunting whales off Antarctica).


2018 and beyond

What can we do? Keep campaigning, keep sharing the negative impacts of nonsensical wildlife utilisation, the unsustainable excuses and pro-hunting propaganda.

As Nature Needs More have advocated, we all need to continue to ask for fundamental change in 2018 to an international system that actively and pre-emptively seeks to conserve wildlife, not conventions that just seek to trade wildlife and then try to deal (badly) with the negative and inevitable consequences that manifest. The ‘entrepreneurial’ criminal syndicates that profit from the wildlife trade have no boundaries (and complicit assistance) – the response, commitment and counter-strategy must change, time is of the essence:

Action 1: Review & Upgrade the CITES Trade Database/Trade Permit System   

Action 2: Review & Update, where required, the CITES Signatory System

Action 3: Make Each Individual Conservation Organisation Explicitly Declare What They Mean by ‘We Support Sustainable Use’

Action 4: Invest in a Professional Development Program for the Global Conservation Sector

Action 5: It is time to ask the question, should a conservation body and not trade body be the primary facilitator governing the natural world?  

Nature Needs More

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