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Hong Kong Ivory Ban is Now Law: WWF Says it's Time to Close All Asian Illegal Wildlife Markets

1. February 2018 - 1:00
[HONG KONG – 31 January 2018] - A ban on the domestic ivory trade with no compensation by 2021 and an increase in the maximum penalty for wildlife crime offences to 10 years was approved today by the Legislative Council. WWF welcomes the new legislation and would like to thank all the supporters that helped to make this happen.

"A ban on ivory sales with heavier penalties in Hong Kong shows a clear commitment towards the future of African elephants. This will help reverse the trend of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trafficking." said Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime. Hong Kong is the largest ivory city market in the world and a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade due to low fines and sentences for traffickers and zero prosecutions of the criminal kingpins. 

China closed its legal ivory market at the end of 2017. All ivory trade in the country is now illegal, which may intensify Hong Kong's position as a preferred market for illegal ivory under the cover of remaining legal traders. The Hong Kong ban will help blunt this trend. There is also evidence that domestic ivory markets in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Japan, and Myanmar are increasingly catering to visitors from China. Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director said, "This is the time to increase rather than to relax our efforts. With stronger sentences in Hong Kong, law enforcement should take a greater role in joint efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal wildlife syndicates. WWF calls on governments across Asia to follow China and Hong Kong's lead and close their ivory markets."

Since 2015, WWF-Hong Kong has been campaigning for a ban on the ivory trade and making wildlife crime a serious crime in Hong Kong. WWF's report, The Hard Truth, revealed several legal loopholes in Hong Kong's ivory regulations and published a Feasibility Study on the Ban of Hong Kong's Ivory Trade in 2016. Through these in-depth studies on the ivory trade in Hong Kong and various community engagement campaigns, we received enormous public support with 91,643 Hongkongers signing a petition in support of a ban. In response to calls from WWF and other NGOs, the government moved forward with the proposed five-year timetable to end the domestic ivory trade.

** WWF is happy to arrange interviews with our expert on this issue:
Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime
Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director

– END –
For more information, please contact WWF-Hong Kong:Ms Connie Tam
Communications Manager
Tel:  2161 9634 / 9811 3804
E-mail: Rainy Siu
Assistant Communications Manager, Programmes
Tel: 2161 9624 / 9774 4959

Bulgarian government silently moves to open almost half of Pirin National Park to construction despite public concerns

29. December 2017 - 1:00
Sofia, 29 December 2017 - In a surreptitious move, the government of Bulgaria approved on Thursday alarming new changes to the Pirin National Park management plan that could allow construction in up to 48 per cent of the park, a World Heritage site home to bears, chamois, wolves and centuries-old pine forests. The decision, announced a few days before Bulgaria takes over the Presidency of the European Council, comes a day after the closing of a public consultation on the proposed changes, launched on 22 November 2017, and offers no indication of its results.
The current management plan of Pirin National Park expired in 2014 but remains in place while the new draft plan awaits a court ruling on its roll-out. WWF and other NGOs of the For the Nature coalition filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria in March 2017 following the environment and water ministry's decision that the new draft management plan did not require a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment.
"The new draft management plan for Pirin National Park is bad and highly contentious, but the changes to the current management plan are worse. The draft plan, for example, envisages construction on an area that is 12.5 times larger than the currently permitted area while the changes to the current plan open up 80 times more area for construction," said Katerina Rakovska, protected areas expert, WWF-Bulgaria.
A letter sent by the Bansko Ski Zone concessioner Yulen AD as part of the public consultation for the new draft management plan, seen by WWF, outlined intentions for enlarging the ski zone to 333 km of runs and 113 km of ski lifts. While the current management plan only allows for construction in 0.6 per cent of the park's territory, with the new changes approved yesterday, such an extension could now be possible.
"These amendments allow for even bigger construction in Pirin than the draft plan," added Rakovska. "It is very concerning that the government has moved to approve these changes, without any transparency on the public consultation and while the new draft plan is blocked by the country's administrative court precisely over concerns on its potential environmental impact."
In November 2016, WWF launched an international campaign in support of Pirin National Park to highlight the importance of the site to people in Bulgaria and globally. Currently, over 108,000 people have signed the petition, urging Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to protect the World Heritage site and its pristine wildlife.
Pirin was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. However, in 2010, UNESCO excluded the ski areas above the towns of Bansko and Dobrinishte from the World Heritage site, identifying them as part of the buffer zone due to the damages and destruction caused by construction around the Bansko ski zone. The installation of the facilities led to the clearance of more than 160 ha of forests, including old-growth trees aged between 120 and 300 years.
Pirin is also a part of the Natura 2000 network of the European Union and WWF, together with other partner NGOs of the For the Nature coalition in Bulgaria, will signal to the European Commission the latest decision which violates European legislation on Natura 2000 areas. The coalition will also be appealing the decision in national courts.

In November 2017, an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report stated that the conservation outlook of Pirin National Park in Bulgaria is of "significant concern", just one step prior to the final, "critical" stage. The report underlined the threats of disturbance and fragmentation of the site associated with the exclusion of the skiing areas as incompatible with its World Heritage status.

WWF welcomes China's national carbon emission trading system

21. December 2017 - 1:00
Beijing, 21 December 2017 – China's nationwide carbon emission trading system, launched on 19 December, marks an important step toward promoting a low carbon transition in the world's leading emitter of CO2, according to WWF.
Szeping LO, CEO of WWF-China, says the emissions trading system (ETS) could provide new impetus for China's low carbon development and the country's transition toward a low carbon economy by helping align its potential with commitments under the Paris Agreement.
"The ETS should be consistent with China's climate plan targets, and contribute to the implementation of Paris Agreement. An allowance allocation approach should make a gradual shift from free to auction, leading to more climate actions and greater investment in clean technologies," he said.
According to China's Future Generation 2.0 report in 2015, around 84 per cent of China's electricity generation can be met by renewable sources by mid-century if appropriate policies are put in place.
"An energy transition to renewables is economically feasible in the Chinese power sector. We hope the national carbon market meets its potential and provides a new and powerful push toward energy efficiency improvement and renewable development in power sector," Szeping added.
WWF is working toward helping accelerate the energy transition in China through policy research, pilot practice and international cooperation.
Notes for Editors
  1. Only China's power sector is covered in the preliminary stage of the ETS due to its relatively robust data and large proportion of total emissions. In the preliminary stage, more than 1,700 enterprises with over 3 billion tons CO2e will be covered, making the Chinese national ETS the biggest carbon market in the world. The government is expected to involve eight energy-intensive sectors including petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, steel and iron in the future.
  1. ETS is one of the most important policy tools available to control greenhouse gas emissions. Establishing a national carbon market was identified as a key priority in China's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), an important action for the implementation of Paris Agreement.
  1. In 2011, the NDRC approved seven pilot provinces and cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Hubei, Guangdong and Shenzhen) to carry out the Carbon Emissions Trading System. By November 2017, the seven pilot carbon markets covered nearly 3,000 key enterprises from more than 20 industries and traded 200 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), involving a total turnover of about 4.6 billion Yuan.
For further information, contact
WWF-China - Qing YI
WWF International - Mandy Jean Woods

TRAFFIC Study: Japan's ivory market must close

20. December 2017 - 1:00
Well-organized transnational criminal networks and a poorly regulated domestic market are among the factors making Japan a lucrative target for procuring ivory products for illegal export. In the continued absence of effective regulation and law enforcement, WWF and TRAFFIC are calling for the closure of Japan's domestic ivory market pursuant to CITES [1].

Japan remains one of the world's largest domestic ivory markets, and is home to an active, though shrinking, ivory manufacturing industry. The country also boasts significant stockpiles of raw tusks in private ownership—a cultural legacy from its past trade.

Ivory Towers: An Assessment of Japan's Ivory trade and domestic market, a TRAFFIC study released today, presents the findings from surveys and interviews conducted in both physical and online markets in Japan between May and September 2017.

The report has revealed the growing trend for ivory in Japan's domestic antiques and tourist markets to be routinely purchased by visitors and agents for illegal ivory exports.

"Our findings show without doubt that Japan's largely unregulated domestic ivory market is contributing to illegal trade—a condition considered by Parties to CITES to warrant much stricter regulation and even the closure of the market," said Tomomi Kitade, an author of the report.

"It is imperative that Japan's role within international illegal ivory trade be recognized, and urgent steps taken to address the on-going illegal export and the regulatory gaps that are facilitating such criminal activity," added Kitade.

Japan's domestic legislation has consistently come under scrutiny given concerns regarding both its enforcement and legislative efficacy in ensuring legal ivory trade.

Current laws regulate ivory businesses, but not trade between individuals, except in cases where tusks are concerned.

Proposed reforms to the domestic Law for the Conservation of Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (LCES) are scheduled to come into effect in June 2018. Although it was hoped that this reform would address critical loopholes, TRAFFIC's analysis has already uncovered serious flaws which threaten to continue undermining efforts to combat illegal activity.

TRAFFIC has previously highlighted the contravention of domestic laws by Japanese ivory traders, and called for a nationwide clampdown on unscrupulous businesses.

However, illegal activity continues to be widespread as covert interviews with ivory vendors found that 73 per cent were actively promoting purchase that lead to illegal ivory exports, even giving advice to visitors on how best to conceal ivory products without permits in luggage.

The latest study's findings are supported by a review of ETIS [2] seizure records, which reveal a significant increase in illegal ivory exports from Japan, reaching a total of 2.42 tonnes of ivory seized between 2011 and 2016. In contrast, seizures concerning illegal imports over the same period totalled only 43 kg.

Overall, activities captured in the ETIS data indicated a one-way trend in which ivory commodities were illegally exported from Japan to China, representing 95 per cent of all illegal export by weight and further strengthening the conclusion that Japan has become a source for illegal ivory bound for markets in East Asia.

Online platforms were also found to be used for purchasing worked ivory products, with a recent seizure made by China's Customs authority in 2016 involving a staggering 1,639 pieces of worked ivory and carved tusks.

"This evidence acts as a timely reminder of the urgent need to shut down legal ivory markets which are exacerbating illegal trade. As we count down to 31 December marking the closure of China's legal ivory trade, we urge Japan and other key countries to follow suit. Regular travellers are likely to continue buying ivory and evidence suggests some ivory markets are gearing up to target Chinese tourists. We must quash this trend. With an average of 55 elephants poached daily for ivory, we simply can't let ivory markets remain open," said Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director, WWF-Hong Kong.

"Japan's contribution to illegal ivory trade dynamics can no longer be ignored," said Keiko Wakao, Head of TRAFFIC's Japan Office. "This report should be seen as the final straw for Japan's domestic ivory market. TRAFFIC will be working closely with the relevant Japanese authorities and ivory trade stakeholders to monitor progress in line with CITES Res. Conf. 10.10."

Notes to editors:
[1] CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
[2] ETIS is the Elephant Trade and Information System. ETIS is a database of seizure records concerning illegal trade in ivory and is managed by TRAFFIC as mandated by CITES.

The report Ivory Towers: An Assessment of Japan's Ivory trade and domestic market is available here. Photos and infographics can be found here.
For more information please contact:
Richard Thomas, Global Communications Co-ordinator
Ryoko Nishino, Programme Officer – Research & Communication,

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC works closely with its founding organizations, IUCN and WWF. For more information, visit  

First ever tagging of Amazon dolphins to boost conservation efforts

5. December 2017 - 1:00
For the first time ever, WWF and research partners  are now tracking river dolphins in the Amazon using satellite technology after scientists successfully tagged dolphins in Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia, attaching small transmitters that will provide new insights into the animals' movements and behaviour and the growing threats they face.

As of today, 11 dolphins, including both Amazonian and Bolivian river dolphins – two of the four species of freshwater dolphin found in the world's largest river system – have safely been tagged and researchers are already studying the incoming data.

Despite their iconic status, little is known about the populations, habits or key habitats of river dolphins in the Amazon. While there are estimated to be tens of thousands of river dolphins, the species are currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The tags will enable WWF and its partners to study where the dolphins go, where they feed, and how far they migrate.

"Satellite tracking will help us better understand the lives of this iconic Amazonian species more than ever before, helping to transform our approach to protecting them and the entire ecosystem," said Marcelo Oliveira, WWF Conservation Specialist, who led the expedition in Brazil. "Tagging these dolphins is the start of a new era for our work because we will finally be able to map where they go when they disappear from sight."

The tracking data will also guide efforts to tackle some of the major threats facing river dolphins, including hundreds of planned dams that would fragment many of the Amazon's remaining free flowing rivers, worsening mercury contamination from small-scale gold mining, and illegal fishing.

"We who live in the Amazon know that our environment is facing growing and unprecedented threats and that our future is linked to the future of dolphins," said Fernando Trujillo from Fundación Omacha, a Colombian research partner.

"This tagging project is critical because it will generate information that will enable governments across the region to target resources to protect dolphins and their habitats, which so many other species and communities also depend on," added Trujillo.
The capture and tagging of the dolphins followed a rigid protocol that prioritises the welfare of the animals. Having been caught in nets by teams of specialists, the dolphins were taken to shore for tagging in an operation lasting 15 minutes on average, before being released back into the water. None of the dolphins were injured during the operation and none displayed any ill effects after release.
Along with installing the transmitters, the scientists also took samples from the animals, which they will analyse for mercury levels and general health.

WWF and its partners will assess this historic tagging operation over the coming months and will look to scale it up and tag more dolphins if the technology continues to prove successful. The initiative is the latest step in WWF's long-term efforts to conserve river dolphins across the Amazon.
In addition to scientific research, WWF will continue to work with communities, advocate with authorities and promote the creation of new protected areas.

Eleventh hour support for vaquitas at CITES meeting but urgent action still needed on tackling illegal wildlife trade globally

2. December 2017 - 1:00

Geneva, 2 December 2017 - The 69th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has come to a close in Geneva having tackled the largest agenda with the largest number of participants ever.


In the final hour of the week-long session, Mexico, China and the United States made a surprise agreement to convene a high-level diplomatic mission to help stop the extinction of the vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, commonly referred to as the 'Panda of the Sea'.


The government of Mexico raised the issue noting the severity of the crisis facing vaquitas, and was supported by the United States and China. The high-level mission will support the much needed actions to address the significant challenges faced in ending the illegal totoaba fishing and trafficking.


Leigh Henry, Director of Wildlife Policy at WWF-US, said:


"It's been said before that it's the eleventh hour to save the vaquita: there are fewer than thirty individuals remaining and illegal fishing of totoaba is driving this elusive porpoise to extinction.


"Coming at the close of the meeting, Mexico's willing support for a high-level mission to assist their efforts to combat the illegal totoaba trade grants the world's most endangered marine mammal a lifeline. Drowning in nets set for totoaba is the only known threat to vaquita in their habitat."


WWF works with Mexico, as well as the US and China, to implement urgent measures to save the vaquita, and to secure a gillnet-free Upper Gulf of California that supports both their survival and the livelihoods of local communities.


The CITES meeting also discussed other pressing wildlife trade issues impacting some of the planet's most endangered species.


The Committee sent a strong message to Lao PDR on a number of issues including tiger farms, Siamese rosewood, legislation and enforcement, and widespread illegal wildlife markets.


Rob Parry-Jones, WWF's lead on wildlife crime said:

"Lao's inadequate enforcement is facilitating widespread illegal trade in threatened species, including tiger, elephant and rhino. We appreciate the cooperative spirit that they showed in the meeting but this must be followed by action as a matter of urgency."


Laos has to submit a detailed and time-bound plan of action by the end of the year, and a progress report by end of June 2018. Failure to submit the implementation plan or to demonstrate adequate progress could result in sanctions against the country.


Regarding pangolins, the Secretariat interpreted the provisions of the Convention to allow commercial trade in pangolin stocks acquired before the trade ban came into force in January 2017, but this view was rejected by majority vote.


Colman O Criodain, WWF's wildlife policy manager said:

"We were surprised by the Secretariat's interpretation. Had it stood it could have facilitated widespread unsustainable and illegal trade."


The Committee also struggled to agree on robust recommendations on the issue of Madagascar's ebonies, rosewoods and palisanders. Madagascar was seeking leave to sell its stockpiles of these valuable timbers, despite the fact that none of these stocks have been audited to date and that there is large-scale illegal trade. Fortunately this request was rejected.


Michel Masozera, WWF's deputy leader for wildlife for Africa said:

"The widespread illegal logging of precious timbers from the World Heritage Site, the Rainforests of the Atsinanana, undermines livelihood and development options for Madagascar and damages the habitat of unique species such as lemurs. The international community must act to bring this scandal to an end."


The impact of wildlife crime can be devastating for nature and communities as the illegal ivory trade has shown. The Committee specifically debated the situation regarding countries implicated in illegal ivory trade.


WWF-Hong Kong's Cheryl Lo said:

"We were disappointed that Japan and Singapore were not asked to prepare national ivory action plans, as many other countries have been required to do, given that both are implicated in illegal trade. We were pleased that many other countries including China, Viet Nam, Kenya, Tanzania and Qatar were retained in the scrutiny process. WWF urges all countries that have domestic markets that contribute to poaching and illegal trade to close those markets as a matter of urgency."


On other matters, Japan failed to persuade the Committee that its hunting of Sei whales in international waters – the meat of which is sold in Japanese markets - is primarily for scientific purposes end eligible for exemption from normal CITES rules. This parallels the very long debate that has gone unresolved in at the International Whaling Commission and in the International Court of Justice over Japan's controversial "scientific" whaling.

The Secretariat will seek to visit Japan and a final decision will be taken at the next meeting of the Standing Committee in October 2018.


Aimee Leslie, WWF's cetacean expert said:

"This is the last chance for Japan. "We call on Japan to end this take forthwith, as we share the prevailing view that it is in breach of CITES rules."



--- ends ---


For more information, please contact:


Lianne Mason | WWF International | Media Manager | | +65 9100 2437


About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

WWF statement on Stiegler's Gorge

29. November 2017 - 1:00

WWF is today asking potential investors, banks and construction companies not to invest in or lend to controversial hydropower dam Stiegler's Gorge, until a full Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out. Proposed to be built at the heart of Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania, WWF wants the true impacts of the dam to first be assessed and the World Heritage Committee to give its approval. The proposed dam would endanger the livelihoods of 200,000 local people and the reserve's rare wildlife, such as elephants and black rhinos, would be placed under even greater threat.

WWF wants to ensure that investors, banks and construction companies are aware of these risks, as well as the opportunities around alternative renewable energy sources in Tanzania that don't carry the negative consequences for the nature and the people who depend on this World Heritage site.


Anthony Field, WWF-International campaign manager, said:

"UNESCO has a clear position that dam projects that harm World Heritage sites should not be built. So far no assessment has been carried out for Stiegler's Gorge hydropower project. Companies who become involved in the project run the risk of significant reputational damage. We are asking investors, banks and those in the construction industry that work on dams to add Stiegler's Gorge to their risk register."




WWF commissioned research on the impacts of the dam that highlighted the large risks to the ecology, economy and livelihoods. In the Selous Game Reserve, it will create one of the largest reservoirs in East Africa, flooding 1,200km2 including critical habitat for black rhinos. It will impact on current tourism in Selous as well as future potential tourism that the World Bank and German Government are investing in. Its impacts will stretch far downstream.


The project is against Tanzanian law as no Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out in advance of the planning for the project and tender being issued.


The risk has been recognised by UNESCO World Heritage Committee and its statutory advisor the IUCN who have highlighted "the high likelihood of serious and irreversible damage to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property resulting from the Stiegler's Gorge Hydropower project" and have urged the Tanzania state party to abandon the project. In addition UNESCO World Heritage Committee has a position against dams with large reservoirs that harm World Heritage properties.


The natural characteristics of the site on which this project is proposed will make it near impossible to satisfy best practice environmental due diligence standards on Hydroelectric from the International Finance Corporation, particularly in relation to mitigating impacts on indigenous persons, water, protected areas and endangered species. This leaves investors possibly exposed to grievance procedures brought by civil society through, for instance, the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.


More information about WWF's work to protect the Selous Game Reserve UNESCO World Heritage Site can be found here:


In April 2016 WWF launched a campaign, Together, Saving Our Shared Heritage, which aims to safeguard natural World Heritage sites. Over 1.5 million people have taken advocacy actions to political and business leaders including the leaders of Belize, Bulgaria, Spain, Mexico and Tanzania:

Revealed: New WWF report unveils the unseen benefits of saving wild tigers

27. November 2017 - 1:00
Money invested by governments, aid agencies and funds raised by supporters across the globe to save wild tigers have unseen benefits for Asia's wildlife and millions of people, according to a new WWF report - Beyond the Stripes: Save tigers, save so much more.
Tiger landscapes - which range from the world's largest mangrove forests in the Sundarbans, to temperate forests in the snowy mountains of Bhutan - overlap with globally-important ecosystems, many of which are part of Asia's last wilderness. These biodiversity-rich areas harbour a wealth of critically important goods and services that millions of people rely on, from mitigating climate change and safeguarding freshwater to reducing the impact of natural disasters and improving the health of local people.
The report highlights that securing tiger landscapes could help protect at least nine major watersheds, which regulate and provide freshwater for up to 830 million people in Asia, including in urban areas across India, Malaysia and Thailand. Similarly, safeguarding tiger landscapes could, in turn, protect the last remaining forests critical for carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate climate change.
"Every dollar invested in saving the wild tiger also helps save many threatened species, and ecosystem services that are critical to millions of people," said Michael Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers Alive. "Protecting the vast landscapes where tigers thrive helps to regulate freshwater, reduce the impacts of climate change and provide a source of clean air, medicinal plants, jobs, and so much more."
Yet, wild tigers are endangered, and their habitats are threatened; having lost 95 per cent of their global range, the cats are now confined to fragmented populations in Asia's surviving forest habitats. Even in the remaining range where tigers roam, close to half (43 per cent) of the present suitable tiger habitat could soon be lost to unsustainable agriculture expansion and urbanization, the report warns.
Forest loss continues at an alarming rate in tiger range states. Malaysia and Indonesia are among the world's leading producers of carbon emissions linked to forest degradation. If such trends persist, more key tiger landscapes could switch from absorbing carbon to becoming net carbon emitters. In Sumatra alone, the only place in the world where tigers, orangutans and rhinos are found in the same habitat, deforestation has reduced natural forest cover by more than 50 per cent in the past three decades.
"The success of protecting wild tigers is a perfect indicator for Asia's sustainable development. With Asia's rapid economic expansion, prioritizing tiger conservation will significantly aid in securing natural capital that is necessary to meet the region's sustainable development goals," said Baltzer. "Protecting tiger landscapes achieves a win-win for tigers, and for our future generations. But if we fail to save wild tigers, we may fail to save much more."
As an apex predator, tigers need vast landscapes to thrive, sharing their home with many other endangered species, such as the Asian elephant, leopard, and orangutan. Protecting the tiger's habitat thus helps to protect other threatened wildlife, including endangered but lesser known species that would otherwise receive little support – such as the pignose frog that spends most of its life underground, and is found only in the mountainous Western Ghats of India, where tigers have helped to spearhead the protection of natural sites.
Notes to Editor:
This report is launched on the seventh anniversary month of the St Petersburg Tiger Summit, where TX2 - the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 - was committed to by 13 tiger range governments in 2010.
Learn more about TX2 and how WWF is driving the global goal to double tigers at
For photos, videos, and a full copy of the report, you may access them here. Or visit for more.
For further information:
Jia Ling Lim | Communications Manager | WWF Tigers Alive
Lianne Mason | Media Manager | WWF International
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources 

New protected area in Congo basin is bigger than Switzerland

22. November 2017 - 1:00
The creation today of one of the world's largest wetland protected areas (WPA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo will help to conserve a critically important part of the Congo basin, providing greater protection for its rich biodiversity and securing vital water supplies for many communities.

Measuring almost 4.5 million hectares – an area larger than Switzerland – the Lufira Basin in southerastern DRC has been designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar convention. Covering a network of rivers, lakes, floodplains and swamp forests as well as four national protected areas, the massive new WPA is home to a wealth of wildlife, including many endemic fish, bird and reptile species and the rare Upemba lechwe.

The area also boasts some spectacular waterfalls including the 384-metre high Lofoï, which is the highest waterfall in Africa and the second highest in the world.

"WWF is delighted that this extraordinary wetland has been recognised as an area of international importance and will now be protected under Ramsar," said Bruno Perodeau, WWF DRC's Conservation Director. "Strengthening the protection of the Lufira Basin is a significant step towards effective conservation of this area and the long term welfare of communities that depend on this wetland and the unique wildlife that lives there."

It is symbolic that the creation of one the top 15 WPAs on earth comes just after the Climate Conference in Bonn given the increasing awareness about the role that healthy wetlands can play in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Along with helping to maintain water supplies and minimise the impact of extreme floods, some wetlands also act as important carbon sinks.

The new Ramsar site is the fourth in the DRC, bringing its total wetland area under protection to almost 12 million hectares.

"The Congo Basin is a global conservation priority and its future is dependent on the health of its countless rivers and other wetlands," said Perodeau. "WWF will continue working with the government and communities to improve the management of these areas especially in the light of growing global climate threats. Effective management will help to maintain the ecosystem services that the site already provides, and ensure that it remains resilient in the face of unpredictable environmental changes."

With the announcement of the Lufira Basin site, WWF has now supported the protection of over 105 million hectares of wetlands around the world under Ramsar in the past twenty years.

The designation of the new Ramsar site was supported by USAID along with German assistance.

The news also follows the designation in June of the largest transnational Ramsar site, Lac Télé Lac Tumba, which unified neighbouring wetland protected areas in DRC and the Republic of Congo. This unified site is home to the largest tropical peat bog in the world, which stores up to 30 billion tonnes of carbon, highlighting its important role in the fight against climate change

Unacceptable rise in catch quota for bluefin tuna! WWF protests

21. November 2017 - 1:00
Rome – Brussels – As the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting closed its doors in Morocco, WWF is deeply disappointed with ICCAT's decision to drastically increase catch quotas for bluefin tuna when the recovery of the stock is not confirmed yet. WWF also deplores the lack of progress made to improve the fate of shortfin mako shark, blue shark and tropical tuna populations.

As WWF feared, ICCAT has adopted an increase in bluefin catch quotas up to 36,000 tonnes by 2020 which is the highest total allowable catch ever set for bluefin tuna. Scientists warn that bluefin tuna stock is not yet recovered and is expected to decrease with such a catch level.

"WWF is angered that ICCAT has chosen short-term economic profit when we had hoped for a long-term conservation victory" declared Alessandro Buzzi, Fisheries project manager at WWF.

WWF fears that the ICCAT scientific committee's weak and confusing advice may have led ICCAT to go for this drastic quota increase this year. WWF asks the scientific committee therefore to improve its methodology in order to deliver robust and clear scientific advice in the future.

"We have been fighting for the last 10 years to save bluefin tuna, we are so near recovery that it is a scandal to see ICCAT going back to business as usual; this could jeopardize all the progress we've made."
WWF welcomes the adoption of harvest control rules for North Atlantic albacore. This is the first time ICCAT has adopted this innovative approach, and it definitely paves the way for the long-term management of other ICCAT species.

WWF is dismayed that ICCAT did not establish catch limits for shortfin mako shark, when the population is at risk of collapse. Nevertheless WWF recognizes that the adopted plan for North Atlantic mako could be a positive first step, but only if nations implement the plan's measures in 2018 and start the process of rebuilding the stock in 2019 as agreed in the plan.

WWF regrets that no action has been taken for South Atlantic mako, which remains totally unregulated. Existing weak measures for blue shark stocks have also seen no improvement.

WWF is also very concerned that no decisions were made to stop overfishing of tropical tuna, undermining the current plans for bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna, not respected by nations. WWF urges for the adoption of global best practices to reduce FAD-related juvenile mortality and bycatch. In addition, WWF asks for more observers on long liners and for strong control on all at-sea trans-shipment, to fight illegal fishing.

Pictures and graph:
Online feature The battle for the bluefin:
For more information:
Anne Rémy, WWF Mediterranean, Director of Communications,,
+ 39 06 844 97 424, mobile + 39 338 66 06 287
Alessandro Buzzi, WWF Mediterranean, Fisheries Projects Manager,,
+ 39 06 844 97 443, mobile + 39 346 23 57 481

Pavan Sukhdev named as new President of WWF International's Board

21. November 2017 - 1:00
Gland, Switzerland (21 November 2017) – The former head of UNEP's Green Economy Initiative, Pavan Sukhdev, has been named as the new President of WWF International's Board. Mr. Sukhdev replaces outgoing President Yolanda Kakabadse who steps down at the end of this year after eight years in the position.

The announcement came at WWF International's Board meeting on Sunday, 19 November 2017. Mr. Sukhdev served as Special Advisor and Head of UNEP's Green Economy Initiative from 2008 to 2011, working in partnership with numerous international and national bodies to deliver UNEP's influential report 'Towards a Green Economy'. 

"Pavan Sukhdev is a true thought leader in sustainability and a highly influential voice among policy makers. I am delighted that WWF will have such a respected personality as its next President," said Ms. Kakabadse.

Mr. Sukhdev was Study Leader (2008-2011) on the landmark project TEEB ('The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity'), a global study commissioned by the G8+5 and hosted by UNEP. His work on sustainability and the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity has won him international acclaim, including the prestigious Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development and the Blue Planet Prize. He is the Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations discover, measure, value, and manage their impacts on natural and human capital.[1] In recognition of his continuing work in helping governments and corporations transition towards a Green Economy, UNEP appointed Pavan as the UNEP Goodwill Ambassador in the year 2012.[2] He was also selected as the "Personality of the Year" by Environmental Finance in 2010.[3] 

Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF International, said: "I am delighted to welcome Pavan Sukhdev as the next President of WWF International's Board. Pavan's passion and knowledge of the interdependence between economic and natural systems connect perfectly with WWF's higher ambition for impact, at a time when biodiversity and natural resources are under unprecedented pressure, but also at a time when recognition of the crucial role of natural systems to our well-being, social stability and economic development has never been greater.
"I would also like to thank and congratulate Yolanda Kakabadse who, for the past eight years, has served as President of the International Board of WWF. Yolanda's wisdom, passion and unwavering support have helped steer WWF through an exciting evolution as we strive for greater ambition and impact, and work toward our vision of a future where people and nature live in harmony."

Speaking after the Board meeting, Mr. Sukhdev said he was honoured to be asked to take over the Presidency of the Board:
"I am delighted to be joining WWF at such an exciting time as the organization emerges from a significant transformation and is defining new ways of working to make a difference at a scale that matters, to redefine humanity's relationship with the planet. This generation and WWF have a huge opportunity to build a sustainable future for all and momentum is on our side."
For further information, photo and biography please contact:
Rebecca Clear | WWF International | or | +Mob 07909936628
Notes to Editors:
The President may serve up to two consecutive or non-consecutive four-year terms. External candidates, as well as Board members, are eligible to stand for the office of President; however, the terms of office of President may not exceed their terms as Board members.
The President also chairs WWF International's Council, being an advisory body constituted of the Chairs of the Boards of the national entities that constitute the WWF network.
Mr. Pavan Sukhdev's full biography can be consulted here

COP23 puts a strong focus on ambition, even as countries defer immediate action

17. November 2017 - 1:00
BONN, 17 November 2017 – As the UN climate talks end later today, WWF recognizes the progress made on laying the groundwork for increasing climate ambition up to 2020 and beyond, but notes that 2018 will be key for countries to clearly signal their intention to step up and enhance their climate plans. In the hours remaining, WWF urges parties to resolve the issues still pending.

A year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, negotiations over the past two weeks have seen countries come to agreement on critical issues of pre-2020 action and support, and the role of gender, local communities and Indigenous Peoples in climate action. However, much remains to be done to ensure we seize the small window of opportunity we have to achieve the objectives of this landmark climate accord. Governments must strengthen urgent action, finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook and decide collectively to review and strengthen ambition of post-2020 climate commitments urgently. 

"From the onset, the paradoxes at this COP have been many. Negotiators have gathered in Bonn under a Fiji Presidency and, as states deliberate on future action, cities, regions, businesses and communities have stepped up their efforts toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also saw that despite the momentum seen in the corridors in Bonn, domestically countries are still falling behind" said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, head of WWF's global climate and energy programme. "In a year marked by extreme weather disasters and potentially the first increase in carbon emissions in four years, the paradox between what we are doing and need to be delivering is clear: countries must act with greater climate ambition, and soon, to put us on a path to a 1.5°C future."

By raising the profile of pre-2020 action in the UNFCCC process, and agreeing on the design of a process to review and increase ambition through the Talanoa Dialogue, COP23 has provided important building blocks to move the spirit of the Paris Agreement forward. But success is far from guaranteed. The Polish presidency must complement, and aim to bolster, Fiji's efforts to accelerate progress towards finalizing the Rulebook that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement and ensure scaled up, predictable finance for developing countries, including for loss and damage.

"Two years ago, countries around the world were entrusted with an important mandate in Paris. Today, they are making progress but with the impacts of climate change accelerating, the pace and scale of the response is still insufficient. It is time to show bolder vision, innovation, and urgent action - domestically and on the international front - and build on the clear momentum we are seeing in our societies and economies already. We look to Poland to continue Fiji's legacy to translate the ambition and vision of the Paris Agreement into reality," added Pulgar-Vidal.

Countries are not the only ones taking action. Through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, efforts underway by states and non-State actors - including cities, regions, business, investors, and civil society - to galvanize climate action were in the spotlight at COP23 in Bonn. The WWF 'PandaHub' Pavilion hosted a full programme of dialogues and events to showcase the value of collaboration and innovation to create a sustainable, resilient future for all.

In addition, the U.S. Climate Action Center brought together over 100 prominent leaders from U.S. state and local governments, private sector and academia showing the U.S.' commitment to remaining a global frontrunner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WWF is one of many organizations supporting the new generation of climate leaders who comprise the "We Are Still In"  movement, the largest U.S. coalition ever assembled in support of climate action. "Never before has a coalition of American business, state and local leaders come together under a common banner to drive climate action," said Lou Leonard, WWF's senior vice president of climate change and energy.  "By working together, they can ensure that the United States meets its commitment under the Paris Agreement while creating new jobs and creating a safer future for communities in America and around the world."

The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UNFCCC will take place from 3-14 December 2018, in Katowice, Poland.


For further information:
Rucha Naware, WWF International,; +447393776573
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. for latest news and media resources

Bhutan, WWF and partners announce deal to permanently secure Bhutan's extensive network of protected areas

11. November 2017 - 1:00
THIMPHU, BHUTAN: The Royal Government of Bhutan, WWF, donors and partners from around the world today announced their commitment to create a USD $43 million fund—the first of its kind in Asia—to permanently protect Bhutan's network of protected areas.

This funding will be combined with USD $75 million from the Bhutan government, which will be contributed over a 14-year period, to support a new program called Bhutan for Life (BFL). The program, which is supported in part by a USD $26.6 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, will ensure that there is funding forever to properly manage Bhutan's protected areas—which constitute 51 percent of the country, the highest percentage of land designated as protected in Asia.

Proper management of the protected areas means the country's 2-million-hectare network of forests and rivers will be protected against poaching, illegal logging and other threats. Forests will be able to absorb carbon so Bhutan can maintain its commitment to being carbon neutral forever. Bhutan's rivers, which are part of a network of rivers that provide water for one-fifth of the world, will remain clean. The country's natural resources will support the livelihoods of much of the country's rural population, and help people be more resilient against the impacts of climate change. And iconic wildlife, such as Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, will be allowed to thrive in their natural habitat.

"It is in this protected areas network, and the wildlife corridors that connect them, that most of the country's treasured natural resources can be found," said Bhutan Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay. "However, these natural resources are at risk, as the country is changing fast. To address the increasing threats to our pristine environment, Bhutan needs a solid new conservation-friendly business plan: one that will not just protect, but will help grow the initial capital Bhutan has put into its incredible conservation efforts; and one that will allow both conservation and economic development to occur in a balanced, sustainable way, in perpetuity. That plan is in the form of BFL."

"Our natural resources are our most important asset," said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji. "They are the foundation for our livelihoods, spiritual connectivity, happiness and our commitment to being carbon neutral. The farsighted conservation vision of the our great monarchs and Royal Government of Bhutan's leadership in adopting an innovative solution that guarantees permanent protection as well as effective management of our protected areas secures Bhutan's future and will enable Bhutan to serve as a powerful model for the world."

Those who showed their commitment today to support BFL included representatives from the Philipp Family Foundation, the Bedari Foundation and PlowShare Group, who provided initial preparation funding alongside WWF in 2014. Also attending were representatives of the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and additional private donors. Most were in Bhutan today, at a ceremony graced by Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan. Earlier today, the Royal Government of Bhutan and WWF also signed a declaration of commitment for BFL, witnessed by donors and partners of BFL.
At the heart of this government of Bhutan and WWF-led initiative is a fund that will make annual payments, starting high and declining to zero over a projected period of 14 years. During this time, the government of Bhutan will gradually increase its funding to match the decline in donor funding. Thereafter, Bhutan will be positioned to fully fund all protected areas on its own. An independent board with representatives from the government of Bhutan, BFL donors and relevant experts will oversee the implementation of the BFL-funded activities for the next 14 years.
BFL uses an innovative financial approach called Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). The approach has been used by WWF, national governments and others in three countries. The largest PFP, ARPA for Life, resulted in a USD $215 million fund to permanently protect 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon.
WWF seeks to do additional PFPs around the world, using the Bhutan program and the other PFPs as models.
BFL donors include:
Bedari Foundation
Bhutan Foundation
Jeffrey Boal : PlowShare Group, Inc.
Carmen Busquets
Tammy and Bill Crown
DT Families Foundation
Global Environment Facility
Green Climate Fund
Neville and Pamela Isdell
Michael and Diane Moxness
Nicolas Oltramare
Philipp Family Foundation
Anne Reece
Roger and Victoria Sant 
For more information, please contact:
Sonam Yangchen, Communications and Liaison Officer, Bhutan for Life, WWF Bhutan,
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for the latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

State of Play on Negotiations: Will COP23 Meet Ambition?

10. November 2017 - 1:00
Negotiators have just seven days to hammer out crucial details that will ensure the Paris Agreement stays on track to be fully operational by 2020. Specifically, key issues in the rules governing the Paris Agreement's implementation and important discussions about how countries can improve their national climate plans – due to be submitted by 2020 – must be agreed here at COP23.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, and president of COP20, said:
"About a week in, we are at a time in the negotiations when the issues on the table, such as pre-2020 action, and loss and damage, are complex but essential to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Now is the time for the Fijian presidency - and for all of us - to step up and remind ourselves that it has been two years since the world entrusted decision-makers to build a climate safe and resilient future for all. If our ambition was high then, the stakes are even higher now and our collective vision cannot falter."
Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of climate and energy, WWF-Japan said:
"By the end of these negotiations, we need to finalize the roadmap for the next year to ensure all actors are ramping up their actions before 2020 and setting the foundations for the global stocktake. The decision negotiators make in the next seven days will largely shape our ability to accelerate action on the scale needed to keep the Paris Agreement's temperature goals in sight."
Fernanda Viana De Carvalho, policy manager of WWF's global climate & energy practice, said:
"This round of climate negotiations opened with a clear sense of urgency but this is yet to translate into the results we need to see to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. The next week must yield faster and greater progress on key issues, such as loss and damage, and pre-2020 ambitions, to ensure that 2018 will see countries raise ambition in both the short and the long term."
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF-Singapore, said:
"These UN climate talks were always going to be a litmus test for progress on adaptation and loss and damage issues but as negotiations carry on, countries must remember the decisions they take will impact the lives of vulnerable communities and ecosystems for years to come. The world's most vulnerable people are looking to Bonn and countries, developed and developing, need to deliver on their promises and implement the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism and operationalization of Global Goal on Adaptation."

To arrange an interview with a WWF climate expert at COP23, please contact:                         
Scott Edwards (WWF-International) | | + 44 788 7954 116

Towards Doubling Tigers in Royal Manas National Park

9. November 2017 - 1:00
A big win for tiger conservation efforts, the population of the endangered cat has doubled in Bhutan's Royal Manas National Park (RMNP) in just 6 years, as per the latest official study of tigers in the area.
From only 10 individual tigers in 2010, the number has risen to 22 tigers in 2016, a step toward achieving the global mission of doubling wild tigers by 2022 (the TX2 goal). The study also indicates that RMNP could arguably hold one of the largest contiguous tiger populations in the country.
Singye Wangmo, the Officiating RMNP Park Manager, credits the increase to the great teamwork and leadership of the Royal Government of Bhutan to protect the endangered cat and double its population by 2022. "The combined efforts of frontline foresters, strong transboundary collaboration with the Indian counterparts, cooperation by local communities and the unstinting support from the Royal Government of Bhutan and WWF has made it possible in achieving this remarkable feat," Singye said.
According to officials, providing protection to the critical tiger habitats and maintaining the ecological and genetic viability of tiger population in RMNP and across Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) is essential in realizing the global conservation goal of doubling tiger population by 2022.
"While the protected area is increasingly eulogized for its rich biodiversity, the challenges to the ecological integrity of the landscape are pervasive. Wildlife poaching is emerging as one of the prominent threats to the burgeoning tiger population in RMNP," said Phento Tshering, Director of Bhutan's Department of Forests and Parks Services. "Providing protection to the critical tiger habitats backed by sound ecological knowledge on tiger population dynamics and their prey will be crucial for ensuring their persistence and of other wildlife species."
There is indeed much work to be done if tigers are to be saved. Once found in diverse habitats across Asia, the world's wild tiger population has shrunk by over 95 per cent in the last century due to illegal tiger trade, poaching and habitat loss. Today, the world is at risk of losing this iconic species completely, with as few as 3,890 tigers remaining in the wild.
"In the face of increasing illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, it is imperative that tiger population is scientifically assessed and their trends monitored," said Dechen Dorji, Country Representative of WWF Bhutan. "Linking science with on-ground conservation through such scientific monitoring of tigers is imperative in gauging the success of all of our conservation interventions," he said.
Dechen said that a holistic approach to monitoring wildlife population that includes assessment of predator and prey population as well as their habitat are critical elements for effective conservation.
Realizing the need to establish proper scientific information on tiger ecology for effective conservation and in ensuring the viability of wild population of priority species, a long term scientific monitoring of tigers in RMNP was initiated since 2011 under the aegis of TraMCA and Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER).
 "The joint scientific monitoring of tigers between RMNP and Indian Manas National Park, which also forms the core of TraMCA is a testimony to a successful transboundary conservation effort to safeguard tigers in the wild," said Singye Wangmo, Sr. Forestry Officer and Officiating Park Manager in RMNP.
She said that the presence of healthy breeding tiger population linked together with tiger habitats of three other protected areas in Bhutan via Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park and Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary, and Manas National Park in India makes RMNP a potential 'source site" for tigers. RMNP is also one of three sites in Bhutan that is piloting the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) - currently the highest global standards for effective site-based management for wild tigers.
Two joint transboundary tiger monitoring reports were released in 2011 and 2016 respectively. The TraMCA tiger photo database has a record of 57 unique individuals and 13 tigers are found common in both the protected areas.
--- End ----
For further information, please contact:
Phurba Lhendup, Director, Species
WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan
Singye Wangmo, Senior Forestry Officer
Royal Manas National Park
Department of Forests and Parks Services
Royal Government of Bhutan
Tenzin Rabgye, Communications Officer,
WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan

Bluefin tuna recovery: a ten-year battle may be lost by lack of caution, WWF warns

9. November 2017 - 1:00
Rome – Brussels – The European Union and other fishing nations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will discuss a potential drastic increase in the total allowable catch of East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna at a meeting next week (14-22 November) in Morocco. WWF strongly warns against any rapid increase in fishing quotas that would impair the full recovery of the tuna population.

After a struggle of more than 10 years to save and sustainably manage the bluefin tuna threatened stock, the ICCAT scientific committee is suggesting an increase in the total allowable catch up to 36,000 tonnes by 2020 (more than double the 2015 quota), while at the same time declaring that the stock has not yet recovered. The same scientists are also warning that such a catch level would potentially decrease the bluefin tuna population in coming years.  

In addition, the European Union is proposing to interrupt the recovery plan, adopted in 2007 and supposed to end in 2022, so 5 years before the original deadline. WWF warns that this will open new negotiations and change management measures, leading to weaker management of the bluefin tuna population.

"Bluefin tuna stock is not yet ready to support such a rapid increase in catches and would suffer from less strict management. It took us more than ten years to bring bluefin tuna back to our seas, and we cannot lose it again for short-term profit" declared Alessandro Buzzi, Fisheries Projects Manager at WWF Mediterranean.
"The measures adopted for the recovery of the species are generating very positive results, with bluefin tuna no longer being overfished. We urge governments to build on this success and wait for the complete recovery of the species," he added.

WWF recommends a quota of 28,000 tonnes by 2020 to allow the population to continue to grow and calls for a continuation of the recovery plan until the stock is declared recovered by scientists. In addition WWF asks for nations to allocate higher quotas to small-scale fisheries, which have been almost excluded from access to the resource for the last ten years, provided that the current monitoring and control standards are ensured.
WWF also warns about the unknown impacts of Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, suspected to be still prevalent in the Mediterranean.
"Rebuilding the bluefin tuna stock was a huge challenge. We need to learn from the past and be patient until the stock has finally recovered. This should happen soon, if we continue to apply best practices."
Notes to editors:
Atlantic bluefin tuna is a large predatory fish found in the western and eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Most catches are taken from the Mediterranean, and this supports the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world in terms of amount of catches and quality of fish.
The millennial bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean entered a phase of rapid and intense deterioration in the last decade of the 20th Century when the new practice of farming wild-caught tunas multiplied without control to feed mainly the Japanese sushi market. This generated a perverse overfishing spiral, with huge IUU (Illegal Unreported Unregulated) fisheries levels.

WWF was the first to warn about this new threat and since 2001 has led an international campaign to avoid the collapse of the bluefin tuna population and to ensure a rational and sustainable fishing activity in the Mediterranean.

A recovery plan for the species was adopted by ICCAT in 2007. It sets rules on several management measures among which total allowable catches, fishing season duration, minimum size, by-catch management, recreational fisheries. It also defines measures regarding monitoring and control, reporting of catches, caging and transferring operations.

ICCAT is the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, a regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO). Established 42 years ago, ICCAT is composed of 48 Contracting Parties which have the mandate to monitor and sustainably manage the stocks of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Pictures and graph: or
Online feature The battle for the bluefin tuna

For more information:
Anne Rémy, WWF Mediterranean, Director of Communications,,
+ 39 06 844 97 424, mobile + 39 338 66 06 287
Alessandro Buzzi, WWF Mediterranean, Fisheries Projects Manager, ,
+ 39 06 844 97 443, mobile + 39 346 23 57 481
Marco Costantini, WWF Mediterranean, Fisheries Projects Manager,,
mobile + 39 340 340 39 88  

UN climate change talks struggle to deliver strong action on loss and damage

8. November 2017 - 1:00
November 8. Bonn, Germany. On the 4th anniversary of the devastating typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013, three major civil society groups demand the climate talks (COP23) follow through on leaders' promises in the Paris Agreement to protect people and their livelihoods, and ecosystems from increasingly severe climate impacts. The attention to loss and damage has been growing over the years as it has become clearer that it is part of today's climate reality, argues CARE International, WWF and ActionAid. Sea-level rise, glacial melting, ocean acidification, and more intense disasters like typhoons and massive flash floods are taking place today: they are no longer a concern for a distant future. However, an ambitious outcome on loss and damage at the UN climate talks in Bonn is far from certain, as governments discuss the draft of a work plan of the UN loss and damage mechanism and how to consider loss and damage in rules to implement the Paris Agreement.
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International said: "Loss and damage from climate change impacts already sets back efforts of the poorest and most vulnerable people, especially women and girls, to overcome poverty. Governments at the climate talks in Bonn should adopt an ambitious work plan. This should identify new funding sources during the next two years that would help poor communities recover from loss and damage and integrate gender considerations across all its activities, which is not the case yet."
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF Signapore said: "COP 23 will be a litmus test for progress on loss and damage issues. Countries, especially the developed ones, need to step up on implementing the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism, especially on the enhancing action and support, including finance, technology, and capacity-building. The future of the vulnerable communities and ecosystems of the world are in the hands of their country negotiators here: It is time to deliver on their promises."
Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid said: "Having Fiji as president of this year's climate talks makes the Bonn conference very poignant. The world is looking to them to take this unique opportunity to make vulnerable people safe from the impacts of climate change. Negotiations have now started, and developing countries have put climate impacts at the centre of the talks. Yet so far developed countries have been non-committal in their response.  Fiji, therefore, needs to step up and show courageous leadership in their role as representative of the world's vulnerable people"
For further information, please contact:
CARE International
Camilla Schramek, Communication Officer or +45 50 22 92 88
WWF International
Scott Edwards, COP23 communications manager or +44 78 87 95 41 16
Ravneet Ahluwalia, COP23 Media Coordinator or +44 (0) 7850 312438