Protecting Iconic Species for Future Generations: A New National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

Posted by Grant T. Harris
February 11, 2014
Elephants Gather to Drink at Watering Hole

To protect threatened species like elephants and rhinoceroses for future generations, today the President approved a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The Strategy strengthens U.S. leadership on countering the global security threat posed by poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, which is decimating iconic animal populations. Because of the actions of poachers, today species like elephants and rhinoceroses face the risk of significant decline or even extinction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, we are taking action to stop these illicit networks and ensure that our children have the chance to grow up in a world with and experience for themselves the wildlife we know and love.

The new Strategy establishes three strategic priorities: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.

Given escalating threats to African elephants, we have also decided to implement a ban on commercial elephant ivory trade to ensure that U.S. markets do not contribute to the decline of this iconic species. The ban will impose new restrictions on the import, export, and commercial sale of elephant ivory within the United States, with some limited exceptions. Taken together, these actions will help ensure that the United States is not contributing to poaching of elephants and illegal trade in ivory.

At this week’s London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, we hope other countries will join us in taking ambitious action to combat wildlife trafficking. In coming months, we will continue to take further steps to implement the Strategy. The White House joins the State Department, Department of Justice, and Department of the Interior as co-chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, as well as over a dozen federal agencies, to demonstrate our commitment to implement the Strategy. We look forward to working with the Presidential Task Force and the Wildlife Trafficking Advisory Council to implement this strategy and collaborate with NGOs, private sector partners, and the public to ensure the Strategy’s success.

About the Author: Grant T. Harris is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs.

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on the White House Blog.



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