Oxford, United Kingdom - San Diego Zoo Global will co-host the inaugural Illegal Wildlife Trade Symposium September 25–27, 2017, planned as an annual event to address a growing international threat to species survival. Presented by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, TRAFFIC (The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network) and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, this unique gathering of conservationists will unite experts and scientists from around the world to discuss evolving perspectives on the demand for illegal wildlife products.

“As a conservation organization devoted to saving species, San Diego Zoo Global recognizes the far-reaching and devastating impact that illegal and unsustainable trafficking has on plant and animal species,” said Allison Alberts, Ph.D., chief conservation and research officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “We are excited to partner in hosting the first annual Wildlife Trade Symposium, with its cross-disciplinary focus on innovative approaches to understanding and reducing the demand for wildlife products.”

Illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade has been recognized as a major and growing threat to biodiversity. Wildlife trafficking comprises the illegal activities of obtaining and selling live animals and plants, or their parts—including meat, ivory, horns, bones, teeth, fur, skin, wood, leaves, feathers and shells. Products are sold to people who use them as exotic food, for adornment and display, to show off wealth or status, or as traditional medicines. Demand for wildlife products has decimated populations worldwide, and illegal wildlife trafficking is estimated to account for $8 billion to $10 billion in illicit trade.

“We are delighted to partner with San Diego Zoo Global to put on this symposium,” said E.J. Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford. “We share the same values around bringing people together to share ideas and build mutual support, which is critical to addressing the huge challenge of conserving illegally traded species. This symposium aims to do just this, and catalyze new thinking.”

The three-day symposium is scheduled Sept. 25–27, 2017 at St Catherine’s College in Oxford, United Kingdom. The conference will feature speakers, panel discussions and interactive sessions. For additional information about the Wildlife Trade Symposium, visit illegalwildlifetrade.net/2017symposium/.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.