About the conference

The UK government hosted an international conference on illegal wildlife trade.

The UK called together global leaders for a major conference to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction, in London on 13 February 2014.

The aim of the Conference

The aim of the conference was to agree a high level political commitment to take urgent action to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

The London conference, which focused on elephants, rhinos and tigers, aimed to tackle three interlinked aspects of illegal wildlife trade:

  • strengthening law enforcement and the criminal justice system
  • reducing demand for illegal wildlife products
  • supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by illegal wildlife trade

What is the issue?

Illegal wildlife trade is a serious criminal industry worth more than £6 billion each year. While threatening the future existence of whole species, it devastates already vulnerable communities, drives corruption and undermines efforts to cut poverty.

There is a risk that insurgent or terrorist groups could benefit from the trade, which undermines the international rule of law and the economies of our African trading partners.

Facts and Figures

Illegal ivory trade activity worldwide has more than doubled since 2007, with ivory selling for up to £1,200 per kilo.

Rhino poaching increased 5000% between 2007-12, with one killed by a poacher every 10 hours. Rhino horn is now worth more than gold and platinum and is more valuable on the black market than diamonds or cocaine.

The Western Black Rhino was declared as extinct in 2013 - all species of rhino could be extinct in our lifetime. Three out of nine species of tiger are extinct, with only 3,500 remaining in the wild and since 2004 the Central Africa region has lost two-thirds of its elephant population.

The lives of those working hard to protect endangered wildlife are also at risk, with at least 1,000 park rangers killed over the last decade alone.


The concept for a ground-breaking conference of global Heads of State and Government was developed by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales together with African leaders, after discussing the poaching crisis with President Ali Bongo of Gabon.

In May 2013, the Prince of Wales initiated the process leading to the London Conference, when he convened with the UK government a meeting of governments, NGOs and other experts at Clarence House. The Prince of Wales was delighted that his son, The Duke of Cambridge, attended the meeting with him.

Reception on the eve of the conference

HRH The Duke of Cambridge delivered a speech at a reception on the eve of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Unite for wildlife video

The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge talk about the unprecedented levels of killing of endangered species like elephants, which are killed at a rate of 100 per day.

Unite for wildlife