The U.S. will intensify its efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at an event on “Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action” held on November 8, 2012.
“Over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before,” she said. “As the middle class grows, … in many nations items like ivory or rhinoceros horn become symbols of wealth and social status. And so the demand for these goods rises. By some estimates, the black market in wildlife is rivaled in size only by trade in illegal arms and drugs. Today, ivory sells for nearly $1,000 per pound. Rhino horns are literally worth their weight in gold, $30,000 per pound.”
She noted “wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world.” This includes the concern that “rebel militias are players in a worldwide ivory market worth millions and millions of dollars a year.”
Clinton proposed four initiatives:
1. Engage diplomatically and at high levels
2. Raise awareness via a global outreach campaign that will launch December 4th on Wildlife Conservation Day
3. Strengthen and expand wildlife law enforcement, including focus on regional centers of expertise and expanding training programs for law enforcement
4. Strengthen global coalition, including emphasis on regional wildlife enforcement networks