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WCS Signs Buckingham Palace Declaration on Wildlife Trafficking

15 March 2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society News Release

London  – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) was a signatory of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration today, which brings private sector transportation companies and international organizations together to fight wildlife trafficking.

The following statement was released by Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President of International Policy and a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce:

“The world is attuned to the fact that wildlife trafficking has become a global problem. And the ongoing flow of illegal wildlife products to both eastern and western markets is damaging not only vulnerable wildlife populations but the livelihoods of the people that live among them.

“The Royal Foundation and the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce bring together those who can make a real difference at a critical stage of the trafficking chain. The agreement signed today will help industry take steps to remove the deficiencies in transportation and customs capability that are being exploited by criminal traffickers.

“When I signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration on behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Society today, it was an affirmation of 12 months of work and negotiations in good faith by organizations and companies that truly can help stop traffickers and criminal networks from moving illicit products to market, and allow threatened wildlife populations to begin to recover from the scourge of poaching and trafficking in their parts.

“The United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration sends a clear message to wildlife criminals: Do not enter—you will be stopped.”


WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.




We, signatories to the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration and the members of the United for Wildlife International Taskforce on the transportation of illegal wildlife products1, recognising the devastating impact of illegal wildlife trade, agree to the Commitments set out below, as they apply to our industry or organisation.

We, as signatories to the Declaration, will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate the carriage of wildlife products, where trade in those products is contrary to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES)2, and as such is illegal under international and national laws.

We agree to implement the Commitments relating to our own industry sector or organisational mandate, as part of our intention to tackle this issue and bring an end to illegal wildlife trade3.

We agree to evaluate the impact of the Commitments regularly, to assess what has worked and identify and address any challenges.

We ask the entire transport industry to follow our lead and help bring an end to the illegal trade in wildlife by signing this Declaration and supporting implementation of the Commitments.



1. Adopt or encourage the adoption of a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trade.

2. Increase passenger, customer, client, and staff awareness about the nature, scale, and consequences of illegal wildlife trade.

3. Promote the Declaration and its Commitments across the entire transport sector and encourage all in the sector to sign up to the Declaration.


4. Develop mechanisms to enable the transport sector to receive timely information about the transport of suspected illegal wildlife and their products, including methods of transportation, key routes, ports and other locations.

5. Enhance data systems, including due diligence and risk assessment, to allow the transport sector and/or enforcement agencies to screen data and/or cargo, to identify potential shipments of suspected illegal wildlife and their products.

6. Identify and promote systems for staff and the public to report suspicions in relation to the transportation of illegal wildlife and their products.

7. Improve the training of staff within the transport sector to enable them to detect, identify and report suspected illegal wildlife trade, and acknowledge staff who champion this cause.


8. Develop a secure, harmonised system for passing information about suspected illegal wildlife trade from the transport sector to relevant customs and law enforcement authorities, where permitted by law.

9. Notify relevant law enforcement authorities of cargoes suspected of containing illegal wildlife and their products and, where able, refuse to accept or ship such cargoes.

10. Establish a cross-disciplinary team working with local customs and law enforcement authorities to develop a system of best practice for combatting illegal wildlife trade in key ports.


11. Support the development of mechanisms by the World Customs Organization and national customs authorities to aid the detection and prevention of trade in illegal wildlife and their products.


Mary Dixon, +1 347-840-1242;

Chip Weiskotten, +1 518-669-3936;

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