STATEMENT: CAP’s David Hayes on the Administration’s Announcement of an Implementation Plan to Curb Wildlife Trafficking

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Visiting Senior Fellow and vice chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking David J. Hayes praised the Obama administration’s release of a detailed plan for how it will work with businesses; nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs; and the international community to take on the international wildlife trafficking crisis that is wiping out elephant and rhinoceros populations throughout Africa.

The administration’s announcement of a detailed implementation plan to take on the international wildlife crisis is welcome news. The grim reality is that the iconic African elephant is headed for extinction; more than 100,000 have been killed for their ivory in the past three years alone. Sophisticated criminal syndicates are behind the killings, funding terrorists and destabilizing African and Asian governments, as they push illegal ivory and rhino-horn products into U.S. and other consumer markets around the world.

I am cheered by the whole-of-government approach announced today by the administration—including a commitment to use trade agreements and other international diplomatic pressure points, including sanctions—to force global compliance. But our work must begin here at home. The business community, NGOs, and the media must partner with the government and mount a unified effort to crack down on the destructive, illegal trade in ivory and other endangered wildlife within our own borders.

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