Writings By Jason Gray

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US Increases Efforts on Tackling International Wildlife Trafficking

February 2014 saw an increasing number of countries announcing efforts to tackle wildlife trafficking and the ivory trade in particular.  As a former WWF employee and US Peace Corps Volunteer, I’m thrilled that the United States has upped its strategy to help lead the way in these efforts.  From destroying its ivory stockpiles (along with other countries who followed African leaders like Kenya and Gabon – see my earlier post from November 2013), to announcing a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, enforcement aspects of conservation are taking an increasingly important and visible role.  African elephants, both Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis have been a major focus of these efforts, but other endangered species, such as the rhino and narwhal, are also seeing the benefits of increased enforcement, prosecution, and penalties here and abroad.  These efforts, thankfully, are also enjoying bipartisan support in the US Congress, with lawmakers from both parties offering support, including potentially “beef[ing] up penalties for smugglers” through the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Emily Yehle, Lawmakers want to aid U.S. effort to combat wildlife trafficking, E&E News, February 27, 2014).

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