World Wildlife Fund (WWF) President and CEO Carter Roberts, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, issued the following statement in response to the President’s National Strategy on Wildlife Trafficking, released today.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the global fight against wildlife crime. President Obama has elevated illegal wildlife trafficking to a priority issue for more than a dozen federal agencies, reflecting the fact that it has grown into one of the most profitable criminal industries in the world, estimated at $10 billion annually. Today’s action confirms the administration’s commitment to scale up solutions to match the problem.
“The President’s strategy is complemented by Congress’ recent, unprecedented approval of $45 million in newly dedicated funding to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Now, we need to implement an action plan to support this ambitious strategy.
“The strategy hits all the right notes and addresses the fundamental need to strengthen law enforcement and mobilize new federal agencies in the fight against wildlife crime, including money-laundering, intelligence and national security authorities. It also incorporates actions to reduce consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife products, and aims to build international cooperation, commitment and public-private partnerships.
“The U.S. is the world's second-largest market for wildlife products, much of it illegal. Ramping up our collective commitment to eradicate this crisis is essential and more must be done both at home and abroad. The President and Congress have sent an unequivocal message to the rest of the world: the U.S. will no longer tolerate the massive and senseless slaughter of wildlife or the colossal criminal profits that it generates.
“We look to world leaders from U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa to build on this momentum when they meet this week at the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade hosted by the British government.”