Obama Administration continues to eradicate wildlife trafficking

Lyndsie Yamrus, Senior Editor

Obama Administration recently took a big step in the right direction by eradicating wildlife trafficking.

Import, export and sale of illicit animal parts within the United States are now prohibited with very limited exceptions.

The African elephant, a beautiful and majestic creature, is on the brink of extinction- driven there by commercial trade of the ivory found in their tusks (as well as their skins). The same fate is sadly occurring for other wildlife as well, such as the rhinoceros and wild tigers, whose numbers are now as low as 3,200.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, countless species of animals and plants are being exploited for lengthy periods of time, leading to the endangerment of iconic species that have been here for longer than anyone can remember.

Wildlife trafficking doesn’t just mean extinction of different species around the world. It is both a conservation and national security concern.

This isn’t just a topic for environmentalists and conservationists.

The current approach on illegal wildlife trafficking was weak and failed because the issue was not of high enough priority in nearly any government.

The United States was one of several countries to initiate action against the global threat.

Fifty nations attended the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade Feb. 12-13, 2014 in an attempt to do away with the challenge as well. The United States presented their strategy publicly on Feb. 11.

The National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking strengthens the United States’ leadership in three ways.

The first is to strengthen domestic and global enforcement of the issue.

The strategy will organize new federal agencies to help tackle the problem, such as intelligence experts, regulators and authorities. It will allow the US to prioritize and interact with other nations in supporting and achieving the same goal.

The second objective is to reduce the demand for illicitly traded wildlife, both at home and abroad. There are many products made from illegal wildlife trade, including decorations, souvenirs, food, clothing, jewelry and rugs, to name a few.

This objective seeks to explain to the public how dangerous wildlife trafficking is, and hopefully steer those who participate in the trade to reconsider their actions.

Consumers should additionally reconsider their purchases. Poaching and illegal trade is a very big business. Dangerous international networks primarily control the trade of such materials, and values estimate into hundreds of millions of dollars.

As long as terrorists and rebel groups continue to be funded, they remain a threat to us as a country as they maintain their violent and often deadly operations.

The problem has enough potential and power to affect everyday Americans.

Lastly, the strategy seeks to increase global commitment and strengthen partnership against poaching and illegal trade. The United States plans to build relationships with communities, governments and organizations in different nations in hopes of implementing new approaches for the strategy to work.

It is crucial that the public understands what we’re dealing with here.

This isn’t some silly PETA-driven “save the elephants because they’re cute animals” campaign.

Solving this task is everyone’s responsibility and the consequences extend globally.