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Religious leaders focus on illegal wildlife trade

Asian and African leaders give input to campaign

Religious leaders focus on illegal wildlife trade
The Duke of Edinburgh (right) with Martin Palmer of ARC
Michael MacLachlan
United Kingdom

February 21, 2013

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Religious leaders from Asia and Africa gave statements to Britain's Duke of Edinburgh on Wednesday condemning the illegal wildlife trade.

The meeting was part of an initiative by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), WWF-US and faith leaders, largely focusing on lessening consumer demand in China and other Asian countries for medicines and luxury items made from rare or endangered species. 

“This marks a new and potentially highly significant development in the struggle to preserve the great species of our planet … those creatures that most need the protection of God,” said Martin Palmer, secretary-general of the ARC.

The 34 leaders, representing Christians, Buddhists, Daoists, Hindus and Muslims in Asia and Africa, called on their followers to protect wildlife and fight against the trade of endangered species. 

“The richness of this world is a gift and blessing from Allah. May we in turn be a blessing to all that Allah has made and given to our care,” said the statement from the Indonesian Council of Ulema.

Traditional Chinese medicine is “one of Daoism’s great gifts to the world,” said the statement from the China Taoist Association. “But when it endangers the natural world it is no longer in alignment with Daoism’s spiritual principles.”

The Duke was also briefed by faith groups on conservation initiatives at the meeting at Buckingham Palace with Martin Palmer.

The Duke is a founding member of the ARC and president-emeritus of  the WWF.

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