China Finally Steps In To Halt The Menace Of Wildlife Trafficking
China destroyed six tonnes of ivory and other wildlife products making it a landmark event as the first ever public display of commitment by an Asian country to halt wildlife trafficking.
Workers in masks crushed tusks in the southern city of Dongguan.
According to media reports, different delegations from 10 countries attended the event, including the United States.
Most illegal ivory is headed to China as reported by experts around the world. Use of ivory has long been considered a status symbol around the world.
China is considered one of eight nations not doing enough to halt the illegal trade in elephant ivory.
35,000 elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. The by-products of ivory dominantly land in China’s black market.
US Commends China Move To Stop Business Of Using Illegal Wildlife Products
The international community has hailed China’s move to stop illegal wildlife trafficking. The United States for one has expressed commendation of China’s effort that destroyed more than five tons of ivory in Guangdong Province.
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said destroying illegal wildlife products demonstrates a strong commitment to ending wildlife trafficking, a global challenge with conservation, economic, health and security dimensions that affects all nations.
She said that China’s action, building on similar events held in the United States, Kenya, Gabon and the Philippines, will send a powerful message to wildlife poachers and traffickers and to the consumers of illegal wildlife products.
In addition, Ms. Harf said the event in China is a concrete action to realize commitments made at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in July 2013, including to strengthen law enforcement and reduce the supply of and demand for illegally traded wildlife.
Ms. Harf has underlined that the United States remains deeply committed to working in partnership with governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and others, to strengthen the global commitment to combat wildlife trafficking.
US Reveals Approaches to Combat Wildlife Trafficking
Noting that wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before, the United States of America revealed its approaches to combat wildlife trafficking.
The black market in wildlife is rivaled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs.
Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.
US reports that world is increasingly seeing wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world.
Local populations that depend on wildlife, either for tourism or sustenance, are finding it harder and harder to maintain their livelihoods.
Wildlife trafficking is also a national security issue
Wildlife might be targeted and killed across Asia and Africa, but their furs, tusks, bones, and horns are sold all over the world.
Smuggled goods from poached animals find their way to Europe, Australia, China, and the United States.
The United States is the second-largest destination market for illegally trafficked wildlife in the world.
How US Addresses This Issue
To address the issue of wildlife trafficking, the US government is working with leaders from around the world to develop a global consensus on wildlife protection.
Undersecretaries Bob Hormats and Maria Otero have met with African and Asian leaders to discuss the immediate actions needed to thwart poachers.
In addition, the US is strengthening its ability to engage diplomatically on these and other scientific issues.
US asserts that building scientific partnerships is an important tool in addressing such global challenges.
Secondly, the US is reaching beyond governments to enlist the support of people.
As part of this effort, Under Secretary Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is spearheading a global outreach campaign which launched December 2012 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.
Third, the US is launching new initiatives to strengthen and expand enforcement areas.
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.
In addition, the US is calling for the creation of a global system of regional wildlife enforcement networks to take advantage of those networks that already are operating.
US announced that the State Department is pledging $100,000 to help get this new global system up and running.
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.