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Germany’s contribution

Combating poaching and the illegal trade in wild animal products

Elefant in Khaudum National Park in Namibia

Poaching and the attendant illegal trade in wild animal products has increased substantially in recent years. Poachers target elephants and rhinos in Africa, in particular. The poached ivory and horn is largely sold by international criminal organisations to buyers in Asia. As their own efforts and resources have not proved sufficient to stem this tide definitively, African partner countries have been requesting greater political, technical and financial support for this effort.

Germany’s commitment to combating poaching

The German government has placed the fight against poaching and the illegal trade in wild animal products high up on its policy agenda. The aim is to prevent past or current development successes from being wiped out by poaching.

The causes of poaching and the related illegal international trade in wild animal products are complex. They demand a multi-sector, cross-border and trans-continental approach. The BMZ is currently supporting partner countries in Africa and Asia as well as various regional organisations and specialised non-governmental organisations, such as the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. Our support goes to measures designed to improve the protection of animals in the countries of origin as well as impacting demand for such products.


Involving the local population

In the fight against poaching, the roles of protected areas and of the local population are key. Germany supports the establishment and improved management of protected areas and transboundary nature reserves. Germany wants to strengthen local capacity and include measures to combat poaching in its ongoing and new projects. Our support includes, for example, training wildlife rangers at Wildlife Colleges and providing surveillance equipment.

Such measures can only be successful, however, if the people living near or within the protected areas recognise the benefit they derive from maintaining the wildlife stocks and using them sustainably. They must be actively involved in the management of these protected areas.

The German government supports partner country governments as, together with the people living next to the areas in question, they develop mechanisms for the fair and equitable distribution of benefits. The local communities also play a crucial role in terms of working with the forces of law and order. They can pass on crucial information which may help to halt poaching and the smuggling of wildlife products.


Reducing demand

The German government is also supporting a number of measures aimed at reducing the demand for ivory and horn in Asia, as well as improving cooperation between countries in Africa and Asia.

These initiatives include monitoring (online) marketplaces for illegal wildlife products, exchanges between African and Asian journalists to step up media reporting on the current crisis, as well as targeted awareness campaigns to influence consumer behaviour.


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In 2016, more than 1,000 rhinos and 20,000 elefants were killed by poachers in Africa alone. Germany is supporting the fight against poaching, for example in Tanzania.

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