Wildlife and Foreign Policy: What’s the Connection?

Under Secretary of State Robert D. Hormats poses for a photograph with members of a wildlife conservancy in Namibia, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted a discussion this morning with foreign diplomats, government officials, civil society leaders, and business representatives on illegal wildlife trafficking and animal conservation. Protection of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos, and tigers do not immediately conjure up images of diplomacy in action. So it’s fair to ask why the Secretary of State is interested in wildlife and convening this high-level meeting. The answer is multifaceted and has broad foreign policy implications.

The U.S. Department of State has a long and proud history in supporting wildlife conservation. In 1916, then-Secretary of State Robert Lansing signed with his British counterpart (representing Canada) a treaty to protect birds that migrate between…more »

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