Recognizing that incidents of poaching are increasing at an alarming rate around the world, the United States of America today unveiled its developed four-pronged approach to stem poaching and wildlife trafficking.
In his remarks at the Wildlife Conservation Day Reception in Beijing, Under Secretary Robert D. Hormats says trafficking of wildlife is a growing problem in Africa.
“Rhino poaching, for example, has increased dramatically in South Africa over the last five years from only 13 rhinos poached in 2007 to 448 in 2011.” – Mr. Hormats
Killings of elephants for ivory unfortunately also are increasing, he added.
He reports that earlier this year, for example, more than 300 elephants were slaughtered in Cameroon by heavily armed poachers.
“This issue has deep roots for me. Poaching is a deeply personal outrage.” – Mr. Hormats
Large-scale commercial wildlife trafficking now threatens security and stability in countries across Africa and parts of Asia, he underlined.
Mr. Hormats cites that to reduce demand, there is a need to educate people to make them aware that what they are buying is illegal, their actions support criminal networks, animals are being killed, and people are suffering as a direct result of that purchase.
“We need to do a better job of understanding the entire supply chain from poachers, to the transport sector, to sellers, and to buyers.” – Mr. Hormats
To stem the latest trends in poaching, the Department of State has developed a four-pronged approach to:
- (1) focus our diplomatic engagement – by working with you and other governments -to strengthen political will,
- (2) raise public awareness, through events like the one here today,
- (3) identify training needs, and
- (4) to work cooperatively with NGO and private sector partners.
The US has been working through its diplomatic channels to engage leaders on this issue at APEC, with ASEAN leaders on the margins of the UN General Assembly, in Washington, and at the East Asia Summit – so that we can take steps cooperatively to address this problem.
In addition, the US government is also working closely with NGOs and the private sector to identify ways we can cooperate.
“We collectively share a responsibility to be good stewards of our planet and support the development and security of countries suffering from wildlife trafficking.” – Mr. Hormats
He explains that’s why combating wildlife trafficking has become a foreign policy priority for the Department of State.
Both US and China have unfortunately find themselves in the position of being destination countries for illegally trafficked wildlife parts.
Both countries also plan to take tough action.
US also urges China to do so, too, to put a halt to illegal wildlife imports.
Mr. Hormats highlighted that it is very important that the United States and China continue to collaborate on this important issue.
Last month, toting that wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before, the United States of America had revealed its approaches to combat wildlife trafficking.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reports that some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivaled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs.
The world is increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world.
The United States is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife in the world.
In addition, the US is strengthening its ability to engage diplomatically on these and other scientific issues.
As part of this effort, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is spearheading a global outreach campaign which we will launch December 4th on Wildlife Conservation Day.
US embassies will use every tool at their disposal to raise awareness about this issue, from honoring local activists, to spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, the US is launching new initiatives to strengthen and expand enforcement areas.
The USAID has already provided more than $24 million over the past five years on a range of programs that combat wildlife crimes.
In 2011, the USAID launched the ARREST program, which is establishing regional centers of expertise and expanding training programs for law enforcement.
The US is now asking the intelligence community to produce an assessment of the impact of large-scale wildlife trafficking on US security interests so they can fully understand what they are up against.
Reports say that an immense, increasingly sophisticated illegal trade in wildlife parts conducted by organized crime, coupled with antiquated enforcement methods, are decimating the world’s most beloved species including rhinos, tigers, and elephants on a scale never before seen.
Much of the trade is reportedly driven by wealthy East Asian markets that have a seemingly insatiable appetite for wildlife parts.
Organized crime syndicates using sophisticated smuggling operations have penetrated even previously secure wildlife populations. Some of the elaborate methods include: hidden compartments in shipping containers; rapidly changing of smuggling routes; and the use of e-commerce whose locations are difficult to detect.