The illegal trade in animal products is putting some of our most iconic species like snow leopards, elephants, rhinos and tigers in severe danger. The UK Government has launched Round Two of its Challenge Fund to support new initiatives to end wildlife crime.
The Snow Leopard Trust was among the recipients of the first round of grants disbursed by the UK Government’s Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund in 2014.
The IWT grant has enabled us to expand our Citizen-Ranger Wildlife Protection Program (CRWPP) to all protected areas of Kyrgzystan. This anti-poaching program, a joint initiative of the Snow Leopard Trust, Snow Leopard Foundation, Interpol and the Kyrgyz government, trains, publicly honors, and financially rewards park rangers and local community members who successfully apprehend illegal hunters.
“Park rangers are working hard under difficult circumstances to protect endangered wildlife in Kyrgyzstan. Thanks to the grant from the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, we’re now able to assist and empower them in their efforts across all 19 Protected Areas of the country”, says Kubanych Jumabai uulu, director of the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan.
End Wildlife Crime
Across the world, poaching remains a major threat to wildlife. In Africa, poachers killed 1,293 rhinos and over 20,000 elephant in 2013 alone. Rhino horn is now worth more than gold and is more valuable on the black market than diamonds or cocaine.
As a response to this threat, UK Environment Minister Rory Stewart renewed the UK Government commitment to tackling international wildlife crime and announced Round Two of the Illegal Wildlife Challenge Fund today.
Since its launch in 2014, Defra’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund has supported 19 projects to protect endangered species such as rhinos, elephants and snow leopards, and stop the international trafficking of illegal wildlife products.
Under the scheme, up to £5 million of UK Government funding from the Department for International Development will made available to initiatives around the world to help tackle the cruel trade in rhino horn, elephant ivory and other illegal wildlife products.
Round Two of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund will support practical action against wildlife crime by strengthening law enforcement, reducing demand for illegal products and helping communities develop sustainable conservation schemes.