US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has spoken out about the threat from wildlife trafficking, describing it as a global issue requiring a concerted global response.
“Wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world,” she recently told a packed meeting at the US Department of State.
“We need to address wildlife trafficking with partnerships as robust as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle. We need governments, civil society, businesses, scientists and activists to educate people about wildlife trafficking.”
Following the Secretary of State’s address, Crawford Allan, North America Director for TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network, a partner of IUCN - spoke of his work with TRAFFIC over the past 20 years tackling the global illegal trade in wildlife.
He spoke of the alarming recent rise in rhino and elephant poaching to record levels in Africa, mainly to meet demand for horn and ivory in Asia.
“The unprecedented surge in wildlife crime reflects a fundamental shift in the structure and operation of the illegal wildlife trade over the past decade,” said Allan.
“Wildlife crime is seen as relatively ‘easy money’, providing high returns for relatively little risk, so it is little surprise organized criminal networks are becoming increasingly involved.”
“NGOs, such as TRAFFIC, WWF and WildAid can’t tackle such threats alone; we need governments to get involved.”
“In this regard, TRAFFIC warmly welcomes today’s strong commitment shown by Secretary of State Clinton, clearly placing the US Government at the forefront of global efforts to deal with the growing menace from organized wildlife crime.”
Already standing by its commitments, the US Government also announced a major grant through USAID to support a Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (W-TRAPS) programme, an international, multi-stakeholder effort led by IUCN and TRAFFIC to inform, facilitate and support efforts to reduce transregional wildlife trafficking.