President Barack Obama, who's visiting Tanzania as part of his African tour, has made a groundbreaking announcement on tackling illegal wildlife trade. We're very pleased to hear the president promise much-needed support - including a 'presidential task force on wildlife trafficking', and $10 million in critical new support for regional and bilateral training and technical assistance to combat wildlife crime in Africa.
President Obama said: “Poaching and trafficking is threatening Africa’s wildlife. Today I issued a new Executive Order to better organise US government efforts in this fight so that we can cooperate with the Tanzanian government and others. This includes an additional millions of dollars to help countries across the regions to build their capacity to meet this challenge.
“The entire world has a stake in making sure we preserve Africa’s beauty for future generations.”
President Obama's Executive Order includes:
- a $10 million pledge to improve protection for threatened wildlife populations in key African countries.
- a presidential task force on wildlife trafficking to develop a national strategy within six months to fight wildlife crime, which will receive recommendations from an advisory council on wildlife trafficking, made up of independent experts.
- a review of the federal government’s transnational organised crime strategy to consider adding wildlife trafficking to the list of crimes it covers, elevating it to the same level as arms, drug and human trafficking.
Tanzania is just one of the countries being systematically robbed of its natural wealth by international criminal gangs. Wildlife crime is now the most immediate threat to wild elephants, tigers and rhinos. It also has direct links to regional conflicts, national security and even terrorism.
WWF is at the forefront of global efforts to galvanise politicians and the public to end wildlife crime. We're calling on all governments – particularly those of countries where there's a high demand for illegal wildlife products, such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and the United States – to strengthen their response to the issue and clamp down on illicit trading networks.