The Netherlands organises international anti-poaching conference
Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture, is organising an international conference in February 2016 about wildlife crime in the Netherlands. Dijksma announced this during a speech on Friday 2 October 2015 at the Wildlife Justice Commission in The Hague. The conference aims to establish a new committee which will support governments in their efforts to identify poachers and bring them to trial.
Dijksma explains, 'Poachers who hunt rhinoceros and elephants will find themselves in the same position as these animals once this new committee is formed. This is a way for the Netherlands to help put an end to poaching. During the international conference, countries will join forces to protect these iconic animals from extinction.'
Strengthening agriculture reduces the need for poaching
One of the items of the conference announced by the Minister involves stimulating the local economies in countries such as Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania. This could be achieved by strengthening the agricultural sector in these countries and providing alternative sources of income, which in turn would reduce the need for poaching. Another item concerns the work of the Wildlife Justice Commission, which will provide support to countries in terms of identifying poachers and bringing them to trial by compiling legal records. Creating records of this sort requires time and manpower - 2 elements which are lacking in many countries in which poachers operate. The Minister for Agriculture is making €150,000 available for the Wildlife Justice Commission.
Fighting the illegal trade in ivory
Over the past couple of years, more and more substantial quantities of ivory have been intercepted. 2013 was the first year in which more consignments were intercepted in Africa than in China. 80% of this ivory originated from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Netherlands is contributing in several ways to the fight against this illegal trade. The Minister for Agriculture is supporting 6 projects which aim to combat the killing of wild animals, including the African Elephant Fund (which creates safe living areas for elephants), a project that allows containers to be scanned in the Port of Mombasa in Kenya and a pilot programme by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (Nederlands Forensisch Instituut) which aims to train local rangers in Botswana to investigate crime scenes. This successful project will be developed further. Around 350 rangers will attend this training programme, during which they will take both theoretical and practical lessons.