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National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking Implementation Plan Released

The President’s Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking released this week its implementation plan for the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

The Departments of Justice, State, and Interior co-lead the task force, which includes seventeen federal agencies and offices.

The implementation plan builds upon the Strategy, which was issued by President Obama on Feb. 11, 2014. 

The plan builds upon the Strategy’s three objectives – strengthening enforcement, reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expanding international cooperation  – and lays out next steps, identifies lead and participating agencies for each objective, and defines how progress will be measured.

Some of those steps included in the implementation plan are:

  • Continuing efforts to implement and enforce administrative actions to strengthen controls over trade in elephant ivory in the United States;
  • Leveraging partnerships to reduce demand both domestically and abroad; and
  • Strengthening enforcement capacity, cooperation, and partnerships with counterparts in other countries.

“Illegal wildlife trafficking has become one of the most profitable types of transnational organized crime, and its impact has been devastating,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division John C. Cruden.  “Wildlife trafficking threatens security, undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption, hinders sustainable economic development, and contributes to the spread of disease.  This illicit trade is decimating many species worldwide, and some like rhinoceroses, elephants, and tigers  face extinction in our lifetimes if we do not reverse this trend.  The Justice Department is committed to its role in President Obama’s national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, both by enforcing our nation’s wildlife laws like the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act and by working closely with other federal agencies to assist our foreign partners’ enforcement efforts.”

“Poaching and illegal trade in wildlife have long been a threat to species ranging from elephants to tigers, but they have escalated into an international crisis in the past decade as demand has grown and organized crime has discovered how lucrative this trade can be. We have reached a pivotal moment where we must take effective action or risk seeing iconic species go extinct in the wild. With this national strategy, we are taking the steps needed to both shut down illegal trade, including raising awareness and support through our trade agreements, while helping source countries crack down on poaching,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said.

fact sheet describing some of these important steps related to law enforcement, demand reduction and international cooperation can be found here, and additional information on the investigative efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other agencies can be found here.

Posted in General News

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