The 2010 Conservative Manifesto included commitments to:
- Support the strongest protection for endangered species and work to protect vital habitats from destruction;
- Tackle the smuggling and illegal trade in wildlife through the new Border Police force;
- Firmly oppose any resumption of commercial whaling; and
- Press for a total ban on ivory sales and the destruction of existing stockpiles
These were the clearest promises on these issues of the three major parties at the election and they gained the Party support from charities, conservation groups and the public.
On the initiative of Conservative Ministers, the Coalition has provided international leadership for the conservation of wildlife. From hosting the 2014 London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade resulting in the signing of the London Declaration by 40 countries, to securing the adoption of a package of measures to promote transparency and address corruption at the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the UK has led the calls for action to protect threatened species around the globe.
The Government has backed this up with the training of enforcement agencies about wildlife crime abroad as well as allocating £10 million to fight wildlife crime (including the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund). Within the UK, the Border Force and National Wildlife Crime Unit have proved highly effective in combating wildlife crime and intercepting criminals who use Britain as a transit nation.
This paper discusses the need for the UK to protect and extend its record of action, via clear manifesto pledges in 2015.