By Grant T. Harris
Tune in on Monday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at http://www.wh.gov/live as the White House hosts a Forum to Counter Wildlife Trafficking featuring Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton.
At the President’s direction, the United States is intensifying our assistance to foreign governments working to combat wildlife trafficking and related organized crime. At the Forum, Secretary Jewell will announce the members of the new Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. The Council will work closely with and advise the President’s Task Force in developing a National Strategy on these issues, as directed by the Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking that the President signed in July.
While the Task Force’s work will create a framework for addressing these issues globally, it will also have significant impact in Africa, where President Obama recently announced an additional $10 million to support our partners’ anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts. As President Obama said during his trip to Tanzania, this is “an issue that’s inseparable from Africa’s identity and prosperity.” Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar illegal industry that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations, especially elephants and rhinoceroses, which could lead to their extinction. Networks of poachers, criminals, and corrupt officials exploit porous borders and weak institutions to profit from trading in protected animals, threatening their very existence and undermining the ecotourism industry and international security.
You can see the announcement and view the discussion live here from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on September 9, 2013.
Learn more about U.S. efforts to combat wildlife trafficking by reading our fact sheet.