An elephant kicks up dust in Tanzania. Photo: Billy Dodson.
Today the U.S. Departments of Interior, State and Justice released the implementation plan for the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.
While the strategy, issued by President Obama on February 11, 2014, established the guiding principles and priorities around U.S.-led efforts to stem the illegal wildlife trade, the implementation plan directs federal agencies in their execution of the strategy. Both the national strategy and plan serve as models for countries in Africa and Asia where the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is working with partners to stop poaching of wildlife and disrupt the illicit trade in ivory, rhino horn and other animal derivatives.
“While first and foremost this is a road map for ‘battening down the hatches’ in the United States and leveraging the power and purview of different government agencies to tackle the problem, it also serves as a model for the rest of the world and is an indication that the U.S. government is leading on this issue,” says Dr. Patrick Bergin, African Wildlife Foundation CEO and a member of the White House Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, an advisory body which provided recommendations on the strategy and its implementation.
The plan focuses on three strategic areas as outlined by the National Strategy:
In a similar vein, and at times in partnership with the U.S. government, African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF’s) efforts to stop the poaching of elephants, rhinos and other species in Africa and disrupt the trafficking of wildlife parts abroad is already complementing the work of the US government. The conservation group’s US$10 million Urgent Response Fund is being leveraged to support a variety of projects in Africa and Asia, including:
“Our efforts, and the efforts of the United States and other governments, to combat the illegal wildlife trade will bring an end to this insidious industry and a respite to Africa’s wildlife,” says Bergin.
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