White House aims to cut wildlife trafficking

White House aims to cut wildlife trafficking
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The White House has laid out a multipart plan aimed at cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking domestically and abroad.

The wide-ranging plan involves efforts at the Interior, Justice and State departments, focusing on increasing enforcement of laws, reducing the demand for illegal wildlife and products, and using diplomacy to combat the problems internationally.

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Wednesday’s plan from a presidential task force would implement the objectives the administration previously outlined to crack down on wildlife trade a year ago.

“Poaching and illegal trade in wildlife have long been a threat to species ranging from elephants to tigers, but they have escalated into an international crisis in the past decade as demand has grown and organized crime has discovered how lucrative this trade can be,” Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellNational parks pay the price for Trump's Independence Day spectacle Overnight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone MORE said in a statement.

“With this national strategy, we are taking the steps needed to both shut down illegal trade, including raising awareness and support through our trade agreements, while helping source countries crack down on poaching.”

John Cruden, the assistant attorney general for environmental law, said trafficking “threatens security, undermines the rule of law, fuels corruption, hinders sustainable economic development, and contributes to the spread of disease.

He said the Justice Department “is committed to its role in President Obama’s national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, both by enforcing our nation’s wildlife laws like the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act and by working closely with other federal agencies to assist our foreign partners’ enforcement efforts.”

The task force identified some concrete steps toward achieving Obama’s strategy, including enforcing administrative actives on elephant ivory, using international relationships to reduce demand and strengthening enforcement through international cooperation.