The Mirpuri Foundation and Hi Fly President Paulo Mirpuri was in London to meet fellow members of the Royal Foundation’s ‘United For Wildlife’ Taskforces for the financial and transport sector, as the groups convened for the first time at an event addressed by Britain’s Prince William – The Duke of Cambridge, designed to combat the illegal trade in animals.

Hi Fly airline, with Principal Sustainability Partner the Mirpuri Foundation, has just signed up to be a part of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce. Formed in 2014, it develops solutions to wildlife trafficking, such as increasing awareness, reporting and enforcement.

The Taskforces, run by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are part of the ‘United for Wildlife’ programme, which is made up of conservation organisations working together to prevent the trafficking of animals and sale of poaching products.

“It is with great honour that Hi Fly joins the United for Wildlife transportation taskforce, that includes a growing group of prestigious and environmental conscientious airlines, aiming to tackle such a serious problem as illegal transportation of endangered wildlife. We must act not only in the prevention of this traffic but also in the defense of these animal species that are in danger and in need of our protection”, said Hi Fly and the Mirpuri Foundation President Paulo Mirpuri.

The meeting was chaired by Lord William Hague, and included contributions from members of each Taskforce who gave examples of how they work, and how law enforcement agencies can use information provided by them to build prosecutions against traffickers.

After meeting with representatives from members’ organizations to emphasise the importance of their challenge, His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cambridge spoke to close the session, thanking everyone for their efforts.

Addressing members, the Duke said: “It has taken a lot of hard work – and real commitment – to get to the point where you are all sitting here together today. And we should all feel proud that we’re starting to see an impact.”

Since their formation, the taskforces have supported 52 investigations, helped in the arrest of 10 traffickers and assisted with more than 500,000 dollars (£384,097) in seizures. In 2018 the Financial Taskforce was brought together to share resources and intelligence to prevent illegal income being generated.

In October, over 30 global banks and financial institutions backed the project with a declaration not to “knowingly” facilitate the flow of money from the trade in poached animal products such as elephant tusks, rhino horn and pangolin scales. The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth up to US$23 billion (£18 billion) a year.

The United for Wildlife Joint Taskforce meeting highlighted the benefits of bringing the transport and finance industries together in a joint effort to end wildlife trafficking, allowing companies to showcase some of the successes they have had – and also to share ideas on best practice and innovation.

Hi Fly commits to end wildlife crime

As a new member of the United for Wildlife International Transport Taskforce, Hi Fly has committed to recognising the devastating impact of the illegal wildlife trade. And as such, ‘will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate the carriage of wildlife products, where trade in those products is contrary to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES), and as such is illegal under both international and national laws.’

Hi Fly intends to immediately adopt a zero tolerance policy on illegal wildlife trafficking in a bid to end the illegal practice.

In addition, Hi Fly has committed to increase awareness of the nature, scale and consequences of the illegal wildlife trade to its passengers, customers, clients and staff.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks at the first joint Taskforce meeting:

Wildlife Conservation needs to be a global joined effort to succeed and the Mirpuri Foundation is contributing to such efforts. Each year the planet lose natural wildlife habitat areas, this being the primary threat to the survival of several species. 

The Mirpuri Foundation has identified some major dangers to wildlife, such as illegal traffic, global warming, illegal hunting, pollution and deforestation. We support projects that can have a positive impact in reducing theses dangers.