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Leading Cumbrian academic takes part in conference aimed at disrupting international poaching trade

Prof Ian Convery with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove

The University of Cumbria’s professor of environment and society was among a top level group of academics called to attend an international conference held to discuss the trade in illegal wildlife.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference 2018 brought together global leaders to consider how best to eradicate the trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.

Professor Ian Convery was asked to take part in an inter-governmental panel discussion which brought him into contact with Government Ministers and Heads of State from over 80 countries, including Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt.

“This was an important opportunity to bring together activists, politicians, academics and business leaders to collectively combat wildlife crime, including representatives from the countries where the animals are facing poaching on a daily basis together with leading figures from countries which may be their eventual destination,” Prof Convery said. “Illegal wildlife trade has become highly sophisticated, tackling this problem requires a ‘joined-up’ approach, using the latest technology and international cooperation.” We also need to find ways of making wildlife worth more alive than dead, including well-managed eco-tourism.”

Prof Convery, who for over 20 years has carried out wide ranging research from flooding through to animal disease and the impact of climate change on endangered species, says he hopes the event will help focus minds on the challenge ahead.

“I’ve worked for agencies such as the UN, African Development Bank and the International Red Cross in some of the most beautiful and occasionally troubled parts of the world, including Mozambique, Nagorno-Karabakh and Kazakhstan,” Prof Convery added. “What underpins my work is a belief in the value of transdisciplinary research and most importantly the development of ‘environment and society’ as an increasingly vital and relevant area of study. Put simply, we cannot understand nature and environmental issues unless we understand societal interactions with, connections to, and perceptions of, the natural world.”

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