By Perry Beeman
Blank Park Zoo has joined 40 other zoos and wildlife programs in 36 countries to call for a more aggressive fight against poaching worldwide.
The joint statement, announced Friday, resulted from the international Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation Conference at the south Des Moines facility earlier this month.
The U.S. government recently announced it would spend $10 million on efforts in Africa to protect elephants, rhinos and other wildlife.
The conference delegates “urged all governments and international groups to launch sustained campaigns to stop the illegal killing of wildlife, including increased law enforcement with prompt and serious punishments for wildlife crime, more cooperation between governments to combat cross-border activity, and campaigns to raise awareness among consumers about the illegal wildlife trade.”
Jessie Lowry, Blank Park Zoo conservation coordinator, said Blank Park financially supports two rhino conservation groups and welcomes the new call to action.
“We’ve made many strides in the past few decades with conservation outreach, protected lands and education to help preserve the remaining wild animal populations and wild lands,” Lowry said. “The recent uptick in the illegal wildlife trade is alarming and cause for immediate action to stop this draining of our natural resources. If strong action is not taken, we stand to lose some of our most iconic species, including rhinos, tigers, elephants and many others.”
The conference delegates noted that big cats, great apes, sharks and rays, birds, turtles and reptiles are among the creatures that have suffered because poachers are selling them. More....