Find out what the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is doing to address the daunting challenges involved in wildlife trafficking, including transnational organized crime and corruption, on DipNote.

Find out what the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is doing to address the daunting challenges involved in wildlife trafficking, including transnational organized crime and corruption, on DipNote.

The Crush on Wildlife
Today, in Denver, the Department of the Interior is destroying the United States’ entire stock of confiscated contraband ivory — totaling nearly six tons.  With this action, the United States is sending a simple but powerful message to the sadistic poachers who kill elephants and other animals, and to all the traffickers who transport illicit cargo and the consumers who purchase these illicit goods: “You cannot and must not mistake our seriousness.” MORE

Globally, poaching has become ever more violent and the smuggling of wildlife parts increasingly sophisticated by organized crime groups.On his recent trip to Africa, President Obama highlighted the gravity of this problem, drawing renewed attention to this issue.  Find out what USAID is doing to support the genetic research that will help protect tigers in Nepal, in this edition of DipNote

Poachers, Not Animals, Pose the ‘Real Danger’ in Victoria Falls National Park
 
“We’re going to fan out, like a ripple moving through the bush.” 

With those instructions, our group of American diplomats made a long line, carefully stepping through the long, yellow grass of the Victoria Falls National Park. We were less than five miles from the spectacular Falls, but in the park it was hot, dusty, and dangerous. MORE

Taking the Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking to the UN

Two tigers look on at Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, January 20, 2010. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Jessica Graham serves as Senior Advisor in the Anti-Crime Programs Office of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Wildlife trafficking is a crime that spans the globe, giving criminals billions of dollars in illegal proceeds, driving endangered species closer toward extinction, and fueling corruption. Now the international community has new tools to fight this crime. The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ, or UN Crime Commission) in Vienna overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on April 26, jointly introduced by the United States and Peru, to classify wildlife trafficking as a “serious crime” as defined by the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. The resolution is a recognition on the part of Member States that law enforcement is an essential component in combating wildlife trafficking. The resolution helps unlock international law enforcement cooperation, provided under the Convention, including mutual legal assistance, asset seizure and forfeiture, extradition,… more »

Engaging the Public in the Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking

An Olive Ridley turtle enters the sea at the Bay of Bengal at the Rushikulya river mouth beach in Ganjam district, India, March 1, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara D. Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

March has been a good month for wildlife. 

At its annual meeting, held in Bangkok, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted to place new trade limits on sharks, mantas, and turtles for the first time in nearly a decade. 

This is an important step in countering a fishing trade that claims the lives of 100 million sharks a year. There is also widespread fishing of mantas, in response to strong demand in Asia — where many believe mantas’ gill plates have invigorating medicinal qualities. Turtles have existed for 300 million years but are now in serious trouble around the world as they are frequently used as food and in traditional medicines in Asia, and their use in the pet trade… more »

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a video message for Wildlife Conservation Day. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/12/199996.htm.

Take the Pledge: Stop Wildlife Crime

In this March 23, 2000 file photo, an Indian tiger looks out from a cover of straw grass in Ranthambhore National Park in India. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

We are calling it Wildlife Conservation Day — a special day on December 4 to help raise global awareness and bring attention an online pledge campaign to protect wildlife by changing consumer behavior. And it follows the State Department’s continuing commitment to draw attention to the dangers of wildlife trafficking.

In October, I convened a meeting with members of the wildlife NGO community to explore ways in which we can use social media and public diplomacy to send the world powerful messages about the importance of safeguarding wildlife — as well as wildlife and the serious implications wildlife trafficking has for the security and prosperity of people around the… more »

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks at the Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., November 8, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks at the Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., November 8, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action

Elephants gather at dusk to drink at a watering hole in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya on March 25, 2012. [AP Photo/Ben Curtis]

About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

We can do more to build public awareness about the destructive ramifications of wildlife trafficking.

That was the key rallying point at a meeting that I convened recently with members of the wildlife NGO community — all of them working in different ways to address trafficking, whether through lobbying governments, supporting law enforcement efforts, building awareness campaigns, or working with partners to create change.

In this, I was joined by Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert Hormats, and Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International… more »