World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today praised President Barack Obama for announcing major new steps to help combat wildlife trafficking and the global crime syndicates that are driving the illicit trade, including the development of a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking and $10 million in critical new support for regional and bilateral training and technical assistance in Africa to combat wildlife trafficking.
During a state visit to Tanzania on Monday, President Obama said "poaching and trafficking is threatening Africa's wildlife." The Executive Order outlined that poaching operations have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to coordinated slaughter commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates. The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, and other critical species has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations, according to the White House.
President Obama announced significant new efforts by the U.S. government to fight the problem, including the creation of a high-level interagency task force -- a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking -- led by Interior, State, and Justice Department leadership, as well the establishment of an external Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. President Obama directed the task force to develop a national strategy within six months to fight wildlife trafficking and to consider how the U.S. transnational organized crime strategy can be used to combat the issue, as it does other serious crimes like human trafficking and arms trafficking. The focus of the task force will be on anti-poaching, regional law enforcement, law enforcement mechanisms, and reducing illicit trade and demand. The president also noted that the challenge does not reside within Africa alone, that the U.S. must "seek to reduce the demand for illegally traded wildlife, both at home and abroad, while allowing legal and legitimate commerce involving wildlife." More....