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Wildlife Trafficking as Criminal Enterprise

Illegal wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s top criminal activities — ranked alongside drugs, arms, and human trafficking. The international crime syndicates running this trade are lining their pockets with billions of dollars, while they slaughter animals at rates never seen before, threaten lives, and even impact global security.

elephant There is nothing a mother elephant will not do for her infant, but even she cannot protect it from bullets. About a year ago, poachers attacked a family of forest elephants in central Africa. The biologist who witnessed the attack told the NY Times that wildlife guards were completely outgunned. In the end, an elephant mother, riddled with bullets, was left to use her enormous body to shield her baby. Her sacrifice was for naught; the baby was also killed.

Due to the growing demand for ivory in Asia, tens of thousands of elephants have been butchered over the past decade. A staggering 62% vanished from central Africa between 2002 and 2011. And the numbers are growing. According to the World Wildlife Fund, roughly 30,000 African elephants were killed illegally in 2012 – the largest number in 20 years.images 2

This tragedy is not going unnoticed, however. Hillary Clinton has vowed to address the elephant poaching problem. The Clinton Foundation is beginning to work with African leaders, NGOs and the private sector to build a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to formalize a plan and drive coordinated action.

In addition, the World Wildlife Fund has begun a five-part original series STOP WILDLIFE CRIME: THE SERIES, that premieres online September 1. Watch the first part “It’s Dead Serious” here as it examines the size of the multibillion-dollar illegal wildlife trade and its destabilizing effect on governments and economies.








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