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Why we're tackling the illegal wildlife trade

Stopping the illegal wildlife trade is one of the most important and urgent parts of our work to protect iconic and threatened wildlife.

There's been an unprecedented growth in illegal wildlife trade across the world in recent years, which is threatening to overturn decades of conservation successes. Especially for iconic animals like rhinos, elephants and tigers.

The numbers are horrific: Around 20,000 African elephants killed by poachers each year. And a 8,900% increase in rhino poaching in South Africa since 2007.

But it’s not just an issue that affects wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade is a huge international organised crime – the fourth biggest illegal trade in the world, worth over an estimated £15 billion annually. It’s often run by ruthless crime syndicates, involved in other organised crimes and corruption, and it threatens the people who live and work alongside the wildlife being targeted. It also affects the economic development of some of the world's poorest countries. 

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