By Jordan Carlton Schaul
A few weeks ago a friend of mine discovered that someone he knew was trading or in possession of contraband in the way of ivory and asked me who to contact. I told him to contact the USFWS. Specifically, I suggested emailing or calling the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Division of Management Authority, the Division of Scientific Authority, and/or the Office of Law Enforcement. These are the Dept. of Interior’s primary offices responsible for implementing and enforcing CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) in the United States.
Coincidentally, this in the past few weeks, Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea met with presidents from the seven African nations and members of the worldwide conservation community to discuss a plan to end the killing of elephants and stop the illegal trafficking of ivory. The meeting is being called a game changer for elephant conservation and is part of the Clinton Global Initiative.
I reached out to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s US staff based in Washington DC to learn more about the newly announced 3-year, $80 million dollar plan designed to address the illegal trade in ivory.
Jordan: Can you speak generally about the ivory trade and how it has decimated the African elephant population? What is at stake?
IFAW: To begin with, it’s important to understand just how huge wildlife trafficking has become, from a global standpoint – it’s now one of the biggest illegal enterprises on the planet, more lucrative than everything except drugs, counterfeiting, and human trafficking. Elephants are a big part of that market, and demand for ivory (legal and black market tusks alike) has skyrocketed since 2007 and now poses the single greatest threat to African elephants. Decimated may even be too light a word – it means, literally, killing one in ten. More....