Why is the Alliance Focusing Primarily on Wildlife Trafficking in the U.S.?
The wildlife trafficking crisis is an international crisis. As the National Strategy confirmed, the U.S. must attack illegal trafficking on multiple fronts, including by working with range countries in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere that are being hard hit by illegal wildlife trafficking, and working with international partners to support demand reduction and corporate responsibility initiatives in Asian markets where burgeoning demand is playing a major role in fueling more killings.
While these efforts are vital and must continue, there is no question that how the U.S. deals with illegal wildlife trafficking activities here in the U.S. will have an enormous influence on our global success in dealing with the crisis:
- The U.S. has long been a leader in CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the world’s largest wildlife conservation agreement, and convened the first CITES conference in Washington in 1973.
- The U.S. was the prime mover in the 1980s in drawing global attention to the massive killings of elephants. Public pressure in the U.S. led to bipartisan passage of the African Elephant Conservation Act and an aggressive U.S. push for the international ban on the import and export of ivory.
- Public pressure generated by companies, non-profits and foundations has led to other important legislation and new funding for other key species affected by the trafficking crisis, including rhinos, tigers and marine turtles, which in turn has helped stimulate action in other parts of the world.
Simply put, the U.S.’s credibility to challenge other countries to stop the killing and trafficking that is devastating many wildlife populations depends, as it did in the 1980s, in demonstrating the U.S.’s strong, bipartisan commitment to take strong action here at home.
Working closely with the U.S. government, the Alliance can help show the way.