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Efforts To Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Dozens of confiscated carved ivory sculptures are displayed before 6 tons of ivory was crushed in Denver, Colorado November 14, 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service organized the crushing. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW ANIMALS

“In the course of the last [few years], we have seen dramatic escalation in wildlife trafficking.”

“In the course of the last [few years], we have seen dramatic escalation in wildlife trafficking,” said the Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe.

Efforts To Combat Wildlife Trafficking
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“This is not the trafficking that we have seen in the past, which have been more opportunistic [and] locally driven. This . . . seems to be very sophisticated, highly organized, syndicated trafficking – so we need . . . a multipronged effort to be successful,” he said.

“The first thing that we have to do is . . . stop the killing [of wildlife]. We can do [this] . . . by providing technical assistance and grants to [affected areas in] building capacities [and improving law enforcement.]” Mr. Ashe continued. “We have to . . . ensure that trade in wildlife products is [not] sustainable . . . [by] implementing CITES, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.)”

“We [also] need to reduce demand for these illicit products,” Mr. Ashe emphasized. “We need to do [this] at home, and . . . in conjunction with our foreign partners like China, Thailand, Vietnam and [other] countries where we’re seeing these large and growing demands for [illegal wildlife] products.”

The United States has already taken an important step in November 2013 by destroying a stockpile of more than six tons of ivory at the National Wildlife Repository in Denver, Colorado, which the United States has confiscated over the years by enforcing existing laws on illegal trafficking.

“We are doing [this] in the hopes of raising the profile of [illegal trafficking] . . . both domestically and internationally, and also to try to inspire other nations around the world to deal with their stockpiles of ivory,” Mr. Ashe said. “We have to get ivory out of trade so that we can better identify and take enforcement actions against [all] illicit trade.”