I remember many years ago, sitting in a central African primate sanctuary, looking around and thinking about how many animals were there. 100? 200? Far too many, and more arriving daily.
The animals that were there were lucky - they were alive and being well looked after - but these 'orphans of the bushmeat trade' were the symptoms of the illegal trade in wildlife for meat or pets, and that trade was huge.
It is now recognised that the IWT is having a massive impact on wildlife throughout the world, and global efforts have been stepped up to address this threat to our wildlife heritage. Imagine a world without tigers. Elephants. Rhinos. Gorillas.
Much of the effort - quite rightly - has gone into law enforcement, to give added protection. But one of the overlooked parts of addressing the IWT is what to do with the live confiscations. A primate arriving at the sanctuary needs a lifetime of care and help, and support where possible for reintroduction to safe havens.
Recognising the importance of supporting wildlife rescue centres, sanctuaries, release and rehabilitation strategies, Landscape Conservation has led the review of the IUCN Guidelines for the Management of Confiscated, Live Organisms. The document is designed to help authorities manage the live animals and plants that come into their care, and where possible put them back into the wild. It has taken several years for the review process to be completed, but we are absolutely delighted to report that the Guidelines are now online and available to download for free.
Click here to download a copy of the Guidelines in English. Other language versions will be out shortly, as will the decision-tree wall chart in large format as a permanent support for decision-makers.
Many thanks to all involved in getting these published - see the Guidelines themselves for proper acknowledgement.