Wild-life Trafficking: a National Priority for the U.S. and the U.K.

I think that everyone reading this is against wildlife trafficking, but we thought that you might be interested to know more about how it works and what is being done about it.  We have found that usually the funding for poaching and smuggling comes from a criminal, and the actual job is carried out by someone the criminal has hired. There are many risks with poaching, including contracting disease and jail time. By recruiting someone to poach for them, the criminal running a trafficking ring avoids these risks and puts them onto someone else. The job of smuggling is also often done by others, traffickers use channels such as  elderly people, who are asked less questions when going through security,  and students who are studying abroad, to smuggle goods into other countries by bribing them. Corruption is also a major issue in the fight against wildlife trafficking. Traffickers are able to pay off guards, judges, and other officials who may be essential to stopping trafficking.

“March 1, 2016: A Cable TV Host is Sentenced to 16 Month Imprisonment for Poaching Wildlife on the Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. “

As World Wildlife Day was on March 3, we can look at what is being done to stop this terrible crime. In 2014, the United States Government announced the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking and Commercial Ban on Trade in Elephant Ivory. “The United States will advance three strategic priorities to combat wildlife trafficking: strengthen enforcement, reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expand international cooperation and commitment.” The first Annual Progress Assessment of the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking was released on March 3. On March 2, Under-Secretary Novelli hosted a panel discussion “Voices for the Wild: from Inspiration to Action on Combating Wildlife Trafficking.” The event focused on strategies for engaging the public in combating illegal trade in wildlife.

“March 1, 2016: A New York Antique Dealer Pleaded Guilty to Trafficking in Prohibited Wildlife. The total value of the seized items is estimated at $355,000”

Many countries, including the UK, are working to stop illegal wildlife trafficking. All over the world discussions are being held to figure out how the international community can together combat wildlife trafficking. In the United Kingdom, the ‘Prince of Wales Foundation’ and ‘United for Wildlife’, which was created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, are working to strengthen site protection in areas that contain targeted species to encourage a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach towards wildlife trade among the private sector, and to support the efforts of local authorities and communities that are fighting wildlife crime to reduce the demand for animal body parts. The U.S. and UK are working hand in hand to curb wild-life trafficking, our continued cooperation along with other global partners would hopefully nip wildlife trafficking in the bud!

On June 19, 2015, in Times Square, New York City, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, conservation partners, hosted its second ivory crush event. One ton of ivory was seized and crushed after a successful undercover operation.


Author: Abby Holland