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International Illegal Trade in Wildlife
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Authors: Liana Sun Wyler and Pervaze A. Sheikh 
Book Description:
Global trade in illegal wildlife is a growing illicit economy, estimated to be worth at least $5 billion and potentially in excess of $20 billion annually. Some of the most lucrative illicit wildlife commodities include tiger parts, caviar, elephant ivory, rhino horn, and exotic birds and reptiles. Demand for illegally obtained
wildlife is ubiquitous, and some suspect that illicit demand is growing. International wildlife smuggling may be of interest to Congress as it presents several potential environmental and national security threats to the United States. Threats to the environment include the potential loss of biodiversity, introduction of
invasive species into U.S. ecosystems, and transmission of disease through illegal wildlife trade, including through illegal bushmeat trade. National security threats include links between wildlife trafficking and organized crime and drug trafficking. Some terrorist groups may also be seeking to finance their activities through illegal wildlife trade, according to some experts. Wildlife source and transit countries may be especially prone to exploitation if known to have weak state capacity, poor law enforcement, corrupt governments, and porous borders. The U.S. government addresses illegal wildlife trade through several national and international venues. Congress has passed numerous laws that regulate and restrict certain types of wildlife imports and exports, including the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Lacey Act and Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, and several species-specific conservation laws. These laws and others establish authorities and guidelines for wildlife trade inspection at ports of entry, and wildlife crime law enforcement and prosecution. Internationally, the United States is party to several wildlife conservation treaties, including the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which serves as the primary vehicle for regulating wildlife trade. Foreign training and assistance programs to combat illegal wildlife trade are also conducted by some federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, which leads an international initiative against wildlife trafficking. The role of Congress in evaluating U.S. policy to combat wildlife trafficking is broad. Potential issues for Congress include (1) determining funding levels for U.S. wildlife trade inspection and investigation; (2) evaluating the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid to combat wildlife trafficking; (3) developing ways to encourage privatesector involvement in regulating the wildlife trade; (4) using trade sanctions to penalize foreign countries with weak enforcement of wildlife laws; (5) incorporating wildlife trade provisions into free trade agreements; and (6) addressing the domestic and international demand for illegal wildlife through public awareness campaigns
and non-governmental organization partnerships. This book focuses on the international trade in terrestrial fauna, largely excluding trade in illegal plants, including timber, and fish.

Table of Contents:



Global Demand

Quantifying U.S. Demand




Case Study: Tracing the African Ivory Trade


Environmental Implications

Threats to Biodiversity

Invasive Species


Case Study: Illegal Bushmeat Trade

Security Implications

Links to Organized Crime

Links to Drug Trafficking

Links to Terrorism

Links to Weak States and Political Instability

U.S. Policy

Law Enforcement and Trade Inspection

Fish and Wildlife Service

Customs and Border Control

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wildlife Crime Prosecution

International Assistance and Cooperation


Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking

ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network

Issues for Congress

Funding for Wildlife Trade Inspection and Investigation

Foreign Assistance for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

Private-Sector Cooperation

Trade Sanctions

Free Trade Agreements

Public Awareness

Appendix A. Selected Laws Related to the Wildlife Trade

African Elephant Conservation Act

Alien Species Prevention and Enforcement Act of 1992

Animal Health Protection Act

Animal Welfare Act

Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978

Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention Act of 1984

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000

Endangered Species Act of 1973

Fisherman’s Protective Act of 1967 (Pelly Amendment)

Fur Seal Act of 1966

Lacey Act

Lacey Act Amendments of 1981

Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972

Marine Turtle Conservation Act

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act

Public Health Service Act

Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994

Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992

Appendix B. Additional International Efforts to Combat Wildlife Crime

North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation


World Customs Organization

Group of Eight

UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Lusaka Agreement and Task Force

Enforcement Action Plan to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

South Asia Wildlife Trade Initiative

List of Figures

Figure 1. Regions of Biodiversity and Selected Terrorist Safe Havens

Figure 2. Map of FWS Designated Ports and Number of Inspectors

List of Tables

Table 1. Value of Legal Wildlife Imports and Refused Shipments into the United
States, 2000-2006

Table 2. Top 10 Countries from which Wildlife Imports were Refused Entry into the
United States, 2000-2004

Table 3. Selected Illicit Wildlife Trade and Estimated Retail Value

Table 4. Statistics on the Activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office of Law


      Wildlife Protection, Destruction and Extinction
   Binding: Softcover
   Pub. Date: 2008, 4th Quarter
   ISBN: 978-1-60456-757-1
   Status: AP
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
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