Just a week after the tragic news of the Western Black Rhino’s extinction due to illegal poaching, President Obama has issued an executive order to protect our sacred wildlife.
Obama announced, “The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations. Wildlife trafficking reduces those benefits while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability, and undermining security.”
The order pledges $10 million to combat the illegal wildlife trade, a presidential task force that will develop a national strategy and a promise to work with international groups and governments to crack down on trafficking.
The order came during Obama’s trip to Africa, signaling international cooperation for what has been deemed by many to be an enormous global crisis. A number of animal welfare organizations, such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and the International Fund for Wildlife Welfare, released statements supporting the president’s action.
Illegal trafficking and poaching has significantly increased in recent years, and has been deemed a security threat by both the United Nations and the State Department. “We have a wildlife trafficking, poaching, murdering crisis,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at Conservation International’s New York gala dinner earlier this year. She went on to discuss poachers that recently invaded an animal sanctuary and killed 26 elephants, and pushed for tougher ivory penalties in the U.S.
Images: • Extinct Western Black Rhino
• Malaysian customs officers seize illegal elephant tusks.