Internationally, IFAW covers a huge range of issues and runs a large variety of projects from protecting whales around the world to saving the world's remaining elephants. IFAW has representation in 16 countries and works in more than 40. In the UK our campaigns have focused on the following areas:
Illegal Wildlife Trade
The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth $20 billion annually and is second only to that of illicit arms and drugs. Given the vast sums of money involved and relatively low penalties, organised criminals are now becoming involved in this trade.
Ivory poachers are killing elephants at an alarming rate, and demand for tiger parts has helped reduce the world's wild tiger population to less than 3,500.
In the UK, IFAW works to ensure the Government takes a robust stance to protect endangered species in international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
IFAW's priority issues are elephants and the ivory trade, tigers and the Internet trade in wildlife.
IFAW also works with enforcement bodies in the UK to ensure illegal wildlife trade is dealt with effectively, for example through IFAW's membership of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime and our membership of Operation Charm, a joint operation between NGOs and the Metropolitan Police's Wildlife Crime Unit.
IFAW also works to educate tourists to not bring back wildlife souvenirs from their holidays through our 'Think Twice' campaign.
For more information on IFAW's work on wildlife trade visit our website.
Saving the World's Remaining Elephants
As well as tackling the illegal ivory trade, IFAW works around the world to prevent critical elephant habitat from disappearing. In the UK we seek to gain Government support for elephant range states efforts to expand, protect and rebuild secure parks and habitats for elephants.
For more information on IFAW's work to protect elephants visit our website.
The Ban on Hunting with Dogs
IFAW was a leading organisation in the campaign to achieve a ban on the cruel sport of hunting with dogs. Hunting was banned because the vast majority of the UK public find the idea of chasing and ripping apart wild animals for sport abhorrent. Public support for the ban has remained strong both before and after the ban. Indeed, support for the law is high across party political boundaries and in both rural and urban areas.
Despite this, the pro-hunt lobby are trying to turn back the clock and reintroduce cruelty into the countryside. But the Hunting Act does not need to be repealed, it needs to be properly enforced.
Find out more about IFAW's hunting campaign on our website.
You can view the cruelty of pre-ban hunting below:
Commercial Seal Hunting
Hundreds of thousands of seal pups are clubbed or shot to death every year in Canada's annual commercial seal hunt. This inexcusable act of cruelty is actually subsidised by the Canadian government.
IFAW's UK and other European offices achieved a victory in 2009 when the European Union agreed to ban the commercial trade in seal products within the EU. This closes down a significant market for seal products. As a result of the impending ban, there was a lack of demand for seal pelts from the 2009 hunt and as such the EU ban effectively saved the lives of over 200,000 seals.
IFAW is urging European Governments to ensure the ban is enforced effectively and to continue applying diplomatic pressure on Canada and other commercial sealing nations to end this cruelty.
Find out more about Canada's commercial seal hunt on IFAW's website.
Whales and whaling
Commercial whaling has driven several populations of the great whales to the brink of extinction. In 1982 this dramatic over-exploitation of whales finally led the International Whaling Commission (IWC), whaling's regulatory body, to adopt a moratorium on commercial whaling. This came into effect in 1986. However, whaling for commercial purposes still continues with Norway, Japan and Iceland killing thousands of whales between them every year.
The UK has been an important anti-whaling voice at the IWC and is recognised within the EU and internationally as a leader in whale conservation.
In the UK, IFAW works to ensure the Government maintains a strong position against whaling in the IWC and in diplomatic approaches to whaling nations.
Find out more about whales and whaling on IFAW's website.
Internationally, IFAW has a dedicated team which provides emergency relief and veterinary care to animals caught in natural and man-made disasters. This work has included rescuing 19,000 oiled penguins, and releasing stranded whales & dolphins as well as supporting sanctuaries for orphaned animals worldwide such as bear cubs in Russia and elephants and rhinos in India.
Following the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, IFAW's emergency relief team arrived to assess what help is needed for animals caught up in the disaster. To find out more view the footage below.
In 2010, IFAW formed a coalition of animal protection organisations to provide disaster relief for pets and livestock in Haiti following the earthquake there. You can view footage of IFAW's efforts below:
For more information on IFAW's emergency relief work visit our website.