By David Braun
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called today for a global strategy to protect wildlife in their environments and begin to dry up the demand for trafficked wildlife goods. “I’m calling for the creation of a global system of regional wildlife enforcement networks to take advantage of those networks that already are operating and the lessons we have learned from them. The sooner we get this off the ground, the better, and to that end, the State Department is pledging $100,000 to help get this new global system up and running,” she said at a Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking, attended by conservation groups and representatives of several countries at the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
“Everyone contributes to the continued demand for illegal animal goods,” Clinton said. “Wildlife might be targeted and killed across Asia and Africa, but their furs, tusks, bones, and horns are sold all over the world. Smuggled goods from poached animals find their way to Europe, Australia, China, and the United States. I regret to say the United States is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife in the world. And that is something we are going to address.”
Clinton thanked the conservation groups attending today’s meeting, noting appreciation for their invaluable work. ”But the truth is they cannot solve this problem alone. None of us can. This is a global challenge that spans continents and crosses oceans, and we need to address it with partnerships that are as robust and far-reaching as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle,” she said. ”Therefore, we need governments, civil society, businesses, scientists, and activists to come together to educate people about the harms of wildlife trafficking. We need law enforcement personnel to prevent poachers from preying on wildlife. We need trade experts to track the movement of goods and help enforce existing trade laws. We need finance experts to study and help undermine the black markets that deal in wildlife. And most importantly, perhaps, we need to reach individuals, to convince them to make the right choices about the goods they purchase.” More....