09 Nov 2012:
U.S. Pledges Stronger Role in Stemming Global Trade in Wildlife
The Obama Administration has vowed renewed commitments to help stem the international trade in wildlife, including the use of U.S. intelligence agencies to track poaching of elephants, rhinos, and other animals in Africa and Asia. Speaking to a group of conservationists and diplomatic leaders on Thursday,
Fueled by a rising demand for ivory, the mass killing of African elephants has reached extraordinary levels. In an e360 interview, reporter Jeffrey Gettleman discusses his investigation of the deadly ivory trade, which involves the U.S.-backed military forces of several African nations. READ THE e360 REPORT
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said an expanding middle class worldwide has spawned a booming demand for rare species and animal parts that is being supplied by increasingly violent organized gangs and corrupt officials who terrorize communities and overwhelm local law enforcement. “It is one thing to be worried about the traditional poachers who come in and kill and take a few animals, a few tusks, a few horns, or other animal parts,” she said. “It’s something else when you’ve got helicopters, night vision goggles, automatic weapons, which pose a threat to human life as well as wildlife.” In addition to decimating the natural world, Clinton said, this booming trade has dire economic impacts and poses a growing threat to the security of nations worldwide, including U.S. interests. In a series of initiatives, the U.S. will bolster intelligence efforts to track illegal poaching and assess its security impacts, work with other nations to expand and strengthen law enforcement, and increase awareness of the issue. “We want to make buying products from trafficked wildlife [and] endangered species unacceptable,” Clinton said. “We want friends to tell friends they don’t want friends who ingest, display, or otherwise use products that come from endangered species anywhere in the world.”
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
The Warriors of Qiugang, a Yale Environment 360 video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.