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Bywaters has started supporting a WWF project to help combat poaching and the illegal wildlife trade – sponsoring an initiative to fund wildlife detector dogs in both India and Nepal to protect wild tigers.

The Problems Posed by the Illegal Wildlife Trade

The international wildlife trade has seen unprecedented growth in recent history. The WWF’s recent Living Planet Report shows that on average wildlife populations have declined by 60% in just 40 years – with almost up to 7,000 species affected by illegal poaching across the world.

According to the WWF on average over 1,000 rhinos are slaughtered each year, every day 55 African elephants are killed, and every five minutes a pangolin is snatched from the wild. The illegal wildlife trade is an international business estimated to be worth between 7 and 23 billion dollars a year.

This trade not only causes untold environmental damage and the extinction of endangered species, but also destabilises local communities. The money generated by this illegal activity fuels corruption and other forms of crime, perpetuating a cycle of criminality that then leads to more illegal poaching. This is why Bywaters felt compelled to act.

WWF Wildlife Detector Dogs

The World Wildlife Fund works in close partnership with TRAFFIC – a non-governmental organisation committed to combating the illegal wildlife trade and promoting sustainability – to turn the tables on the poachers. One of the primary ways in which this is achieved is through wildlife detector dogs, which act at the first line of defence for wild animals across the world.

In 2019, Bywaters started providing financial support to the WWF to help train more detector dogs. Once trained, these dogs catch not just illegal poachers, but also guns and traps that may be hidden in the forest. They help combat the favoured methods by which animals are killed and stolen from the wild in order to be sold on the black market, disrupting the poachers’ activities.

These detector dogs are a new innovation and have proved remarkably effective – as they can also be used as sniffer dogs at checkpoints and airports. Additionally, any evidence unearthed by the dogs can be used in court to help deliver successful prosecutions for the criminals involved in this dark trade. This is particularly important as getting enough evidence for a successful prosecution has long been one of the biggest challenges in fighting poaching.

Protecting One of the Planet’s Most Endangered Animals

The project that Bywaters is sponsoring is specifically focussed on the WWF’s tiger conservation programme, with the money we are donating being used to train detector dogs in India and Nepal. Through this, Bywaters is proud to be helping to target one of the most urgent conservation projects in the world.

This region covered by the project we’re sponsoring is home to over 10% of the world’s tiger population, and the rangers who patrol it have limited resources to protect these fantastic animals. This is why aid from international organisations such as the WWF and TRAFFIC is so important for the conservation of these habitats and ensuring tigers aren’t driven to extinction.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the global population of tigers has fallen by 95% and in 2010 there were only 3,200 wild tigers left. The WWF’s aim has been to see this number double by 2022, and projects such as training detector dogs have a real impact for making this ambition into a reality.

The signs so far are encouraging, with the number of wild tigers in India increasing by 33% from 2015 to 2019, proving that efforts to tackle the international wildlife trade are having a real impact.

Bywaters’ Commitment to Sustainability Around the World

Bywaters is passionate about promoting sustainability initiatives and protecting habitats under threat all over the world. Supporting the WWF on this tiger conservation project is part of our aim to engage with more charities and non-governmental organisations both at home and abroad.

We currently work with the London Wildlife Trust to help protect the green spaces in the city that we call home, and also with international tree planting charity Greenpop to make an impact abroad. Greenpop works with communities across southern Africa and has an aim to plant 500,000 trees by 2025 and we’ve been working alongside our clients to support them in this goal since last year.

Our Associate Director for Sustainability & Environment, Ed Van Reenen, took part in a Greenpop project in Cape Town last year and wrote about the experience for our blog.

A Project Bywaters is Proud to Support

Our commitment to sustainability runs through Bywaters all the way from senior management to every employee in the organisation. Sian Glover, Bywaters’ Associate Director for Corporate Social Responsibility, had this to say about our partnership with the WWF:

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to support the fantastic work done by the WWF, and to help ensure that wild tigers are saved from extinction by fighting against the international wildlife trade.”

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