By Alicia Graef
President Obama has made another unprecedented move this week by signing an executive order to combat wildlife trafficking that is threatening endangered species and perpetuating organized crime.
The president launched the crackdown during his visit to Tanzania earlier this week, which brings hope for species whose populations are suffering from the effects of the recent surge in poaching that is estimated to be a billion dollar industry and is now being considered both a global crisis and a security threat.
During his speech, the president said, “poaching and trafficking is threatening Africa’s wildlife, so today I issued a new executive order to better organize U.S. government efforts in this fight so that we can cooperate further with the Tanzanian government and others. And this includes additional millions of dollars to help countries across the region build their capacity to meet this challenge, because the entire world has a stake in making sure that we preserve Africa’s beauty for future generations.”
It’s believed that 30,000 elephants are killed every year for their ivory, while rhino poaching saw a 3000 percent increase between 2007 and 2011, and rangers continue to lose their lives in an effort to protect these animals.
“Poaching operations have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to coordinated slaughter commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates,” states the order. “The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations.” More....