A number of logistics companies have signed up to an initiative to block transportation routes for the illegal wildlife trade.
The Prince William-backed initiative aims to put an end to the illegal transportation and poaching of animal species through improved communication between customs and enforcement authorities and by training staff on how to spot suspicious cargo.
Some 40 companies across shipping, airline and transport industries – members of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce – signed the agreement at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
The move could mark a significant milestone in preventing the illegal wildlife trading industry, which according to United For Worldlife is valued at up to $20bn per year.
Signatories include the world’s largest shipper Maersk, WWF, Emirates Airlines, global trade bodies, Emirates Airlines, among others.
The initiative also has the backing of key global lobbies such as the WWF.
The Buckingham Declaration aims for signatories to create or encourage the adoption of a “zero tolerance policy” regarding illegal wildlife trade.
Prince William said in a speech: “We have accepted that the poaching crisis is not just a tragedy because of the impact it is having on animals, but because of its effect on some of the most vulnerable people on our planet.”
The Buckingham Declaration will secure information sharing systems for the transport industry so that it is aware of high-risk supply routes and various illegal transportation methods.
The initiative will also create a communication portal between the transport sector, customs and law officials to report any suspicious activity related to illegal wildlife trade practices and notifying law enforcement officials if cargo contains wildlife.
“We have faced up to the fact that if current trends continue the last wild African elephants and rhinos will be killed before my daughter Charlotte’s 25th birthday,” Prince William said.
African rhinos, elephants, tigers are among the animals that are illegally killed and traded overseas.
“By implementing these commitments the signatories can secure a game changer in the race against extinction,” Prince William said.
He also warned that if the illegal transportation of species does not stop within the next five years, the battle will be lost forever.