Germany's Foreign Minister condemned wildlife poaching and trafficking in animal products at a high-level panel at the UN headquarters. The panel convened on September 26, and was jointly organised by Gabon and Germany. In addition to Germany's minister, the panel included the President of Gabon, Director General of WWF, and others.
“Today we are discussing a serious problem which is not on the front pages of our newspapers every day. But Poaching and trafficking in animal products such as ivory or rhino horn are growing problems.”, said Westerwelle.
Westerwelle emphazised on the urgency to act: “Elephant herds are killed off from helicopters by poachers using automatic weapons. Five years ago, about a dozen rhinos were killed in South Africa. Last year it was almost 700. The earnings go to international organised crime cartels. The money is used to buy arms, stir up political unrest and finance terrorist activities. The structures and methods we observe are similar to those of drug trafficking.
Westerwelle noted that actions against wildlife poaching and trafficking would not be a mere matter of protecting endangered species but also a necessary measure to secure the economic foundation of many countries and countering the spread of organised crime to prevent the destabilisation of entire regions and the prevention of uncontrolled militarisation. “This acute poaching crisis has become a serious problem for foreign and security policy.”, he said.
This topic has also gained attention on the level of the United Nations as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the topic of poaching and trafficking in his report to the Security Council on 20 May 2013. More....