Community Representatives Call on London Conference to Guarantee Equal Role in Tackling Illegal Wildlife Crime

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Press Release 11 October 2018

Representatives from communities affected by the illegal wildlife trade are calling on governments meeting in London today to recognise local communities as equal partners in conserving wildlife, strengthen their rights to land and increase benefits from wildlife, and give local knowledge equal status in tackling the illegal wildlife trade. The community representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America met ahead of the conference at a meeting organised by IIED, International Union for Conservation of Nature Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (IUCN SULi), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Dickson Ole Kaelo, CEO of Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association and spokesperson for community representatives at the London conference, said: “You cannot save wildlife without the support of the indigenous peoples and the local communities who steward most of the world’s wildlife.

“A quarter of the world’s land area is owned or managed by communities – more than double the area of national parks. We are the people who are the most affected by the illegal wildlife trade and can be the most powerful force to address this problem. But this will only happen if communities are empowered and can benefit from wildlife.

“Far too little attention and funding are being directed to implementing the commitments governments have made to communities to involve them as partners in conservation. This is undermining global efforts to combat poaching.

“Critical commitments from governments are also missing. For the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade to be successful, it is vital that governments:


  • Recognise and guarantee community rights to land and to manage and benefit from wildlife
  • Give status to indigenous and local knowledge in equal measure to scientific knowledge for conserving wild species in the face of combating the illegal wildlife trade and broader conservation threats, and
  • Include and give an equal voice to communities in international meetings like this and recognise us as equal partners in conserving our wildlife on our land.”


Media enquiries

For an interview or further information, contact Joyce Mbataru Communication officer on 0720802689 or email [email protected]  and Beth Herzfeld, IIED head of media on +44 (0)7557 658 482 or email [email protected]


Notes to editors

  • Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association works with landowners and communities to sustainably conserve and manage wildlife and their habitat outside formal protected areas for the benefit of the people of Kenya


  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,300 member organisations and the input of more than 13,000 experts. IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.


  • Fauna & Flora International (FFI)protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and that take account of human needs. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide, FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction while improving the livelihoods of local people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world’s longest established international wildlife conservation organisation, and has been addressing the issue of illegal wildlife trade – directly and indirectly – for much of its history


  • ZSL (Zoological Society of London)is an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives. From investigating the health threats facing animals to helping people and wildlife live alongside each other, ZSL is committed to bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction. Our work is realised through our ground-breaking science, our field conservation around the world and engaging millions of people through our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
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