For Immediate Release
Bangkok -- The U.S. Agency for International Development/Asia today announced a new initiative to combat illegal wildlife trade between Asia and Africa.
The three-year, $1.5 million Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) Program will protect global biodiversity through strengthening the knowledge base and cooperation of governments, inter-governmental organizations, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to tackle illegal wildlife trade between the two continents. Poaching of elephants and rhinos is presently at record levels in Africa, with the ivory and rhino horn destined for Asia. The criminal networks behind the smuggling have been linked to human trafficking, arms and narcotics networks.
Wildlife TRAPS will build on existing USAID efforts as well as ongoing work by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to help governments in Africa and Asia effectively address emerging wildlife trafficking issues. The new program is funded through a grant to the Public International Organization IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and will be implemented by TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network and a strategic alliance of IUCN and WWF.
“Wildlife TRAPS demonstrates the United States’ growing commitment to confront this trans-continental challenge, which impacts not only the survival of the world’s treasured wildlife, but the governance systems and tourism-based economies of many developing nations around the globe that depend on these precious natural resources for sustainable economic growth,” said USAID/Asia Regional Mission Director Michael Yates.
Wildlife TRAPS represents a unified approach by USAID in Washington, D.C. and its regional offices in Pretoria, South Africa and Bangkok, Thailand.
The Wildlife TRAPS announcement was made in Bangkok at a Tuesday reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, honoring partners working on wildlife trafficking issues, and where world governments are currently attending the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Sixteenth Conference of the Parties.
The outcomes of negotiations at this conference will determine the fate of some of the world’s most precious and highly traded wildlife, including fish and timber species.
Last updated: January 21, 2015