WASHINGTON, April 4, 2016—WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) took part in a Public Forum of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, which brings private sector companies together to fight wildlife trafficking.
The following statement was released by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign:
“Targeting wildlife trafficking is essential if we want future generations to live in a world that is still home to our most iconic animals. The demand for ivory, rhino horn, tiger skins, and other products is causing those endangered species and many others to rapidly diminish.
“With better laws and regulations nearly in place, we must work towards the next step: educating the public and making sure the rules are making a difference. Unfortunately, the U.S. continues to be one of the world’s leading markets for illegal wildlife products including jewelry, skins and trinkets.
“That is why WCS is proud to be a founding member of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA), a public-private partnership that has brought together the conservation community, the private sector and government to seek solutions to this crisis. The Alliance is committed to working together so that illegal wildlife products are not sold in the U.S. and educating consumers that their actions will ensure a future for wildlife.
“Corporate leaders understand that they can play a constructive role implementing policy goals when they are engaged from the beginning of the process. For this reason, the companies joining USWTA are taking proactive steps to ensure that illegal wildlife products remain out of their supply chains.
“Today, I met with other representatives of NGOs and companies at the White House to celebrate these corporate commitments and participated in a panel discussion at the National Geographic Society to discuss the next steps for the USWTA in the fight against wildlife trafficking. Soon, other companies will see the benefits of getting behind this effort and join the cause.
“I am inspired when I see new faces and organizations supporting this effort. Behind the strength of committed conservation organizations, responsible corporate entities and proactive government leadership, we have seen remarkable progress. However, in the end it is up to the American public to make the decision to stop buying these products. We can end the scourge of wildlife trafficking and the danger it brings to U.S. interests only if we are all in this together.”
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.newsroom.wcs.org