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Endangered Species and Smuggling: Corporate and Media Linking with Government To Slow Trafficking

Aug 05, 2015 09:02 PM EDT

After President Obama's return from Kenya in late July, he announced that the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance would be formed. In response to the continued species threat on land and in oceans across international borders, the newly formed alliance is a coalition of conservation, corporate, foundation and media leaders working with the federal government, according to a release

This network has several aims: to raise awareness in the United States about wildlife trafficking, reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, and help prevent corporations' goods, services and platforms from being used by traffickers, the release said.

"Our efforts to stop the poaching and trade of wildlife must move beyond relying solely on governments to provide the solutions," said African Wildlife Foundation CEO, Dr. Patrick Bergin, who serves on the White House's Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, in a release. "This needs to become a public issue and a mass movement in the United States until we reach that critical mass of advocacy and action, and the illegal wildlife trade is stamped out for good."

Bringing in additional support and publicity from the technology, communications and social media community and companies is a major aim, Secretary Jewell noted in the release. 

Alliance members already include the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, WildAid, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Conservation Network, The Nature Conservancy-North America, the Humane Society of the United States, Conservation International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, TRAFFIC and RESOLVE. Several companies or foundations including eBay, Facebook, Google, Vulcan, the Paul G. Allen Foundation, the Wyss Foundation, Tiffany's and Berkshire Hathaway are either already working with the alliance or are in talks about joining, the release noted.

This fall, there will be a meeting of Alliance leaders to raise awareness and reduce demand for trafficked wildlife, the release said. 

To learn more about the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, please visit their website here

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