When the White House recently announced a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, it was coupled with a second main component. The strategy laid out a set of goals to strengthen global cooperation to combat the illegal wildlife trade; a second part bolsters laws aimed at curbing the sale of ivory in the U.S. except for a very limited number of circumstances.
Some wildlife professionals in and outside of government have praised the new strategy as one of the most significant steps taken by the country to hamper the illegal trade. Still, some have said that the strategy, which the White House launched in conjunction with numerous agencies, will need to be strongly implemented and enforced to be effective.
The impetus of the strategy, part of a host of anti-trafficking efforts in recent years by the U.S. and other countries, stems not only from protecting iconic wildlife but also security. By some reports, wildlife trafficking funnels some $19 billion annually to criminals and even terrorists. The illegal wildlife trade, including ivory, which is often used to make traditional medicine and other products, is larger than the trafficking of small arms, diamonds, gold, and oil, according to a recent report from the Washington, DC-based Stimson Center.