Mishcon de Reya yesterday hosted an expert panel discussion for independent elephant protection organisation Stop Ivory, examining the issues underpinning the elephant poaching crisis and the illegal ivory trade. Mishcon de Reya Managing Associate Alexander Rhodes is the Chief Executive of Stop Ivory.
Chaired by the BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson, the panel comprised Professor Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society of London; Mary Rice, Executive Director at the Environmental Investigation Agency; and Stanley Johnson, Author & Former MEP.
During the panel discussion, it emerged that elephant populations across Africa are being liquidated on an industrial scale, underpinned by the relatively recent involvement of organised crime in the illegal ivory trade. In the face of this crisis, there has been a united global response. Growing numbers of countries are joining the African-led Elephant Protection Initiative calling for domestic ivory markets to close. In September 2015 the US and Chinese Presidents issued a joint-declaration that they will also close domestic ivory markets.
The situation on the ground in many places remains acute. Over 1,000 rangers were reported to have been killed in the line of duty over the last 10 years and 100,000 elephants have been killed over the last three years.
The British government has committed to close its domestic ivory market and the CITES (Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species) Conference in September this year is likely to consider proposals to close all trade, permanently.
The event is part of Mishcon de Reya's 'Africa Season', a series of events celebrating the firm's investment and philanthropic involvement in Africa.
Head of the Africa Group at Mishcon de Reya, Saul Sender, commented: "Our Africa practice is multi-faceted and this is reflected in the many different areas of interest we have in the continent. We are very proud of the steps that Alex and his team at Stop Ivory are taking and as a firm we are committed to helping the fight against the ivory trade."
Alexander Rhodes added: "Stop Ivory works to support African Governments to protect their unique wildlife heritage for the benefit of us all. We could not do that without the firm's committed backing."