Target: U.S. Congress and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Goal: Prevent illegal wildlife from entering U.S. borders by increasing number of U.S. customs wildlife inspectors, raising penalties for involvement in organized crime and illegal wildlife trafficking and facilitating extradition to try organized criminals who cross national boundaries.
All is not quiet on South Africa’s savannahs as conservationists rally together each night to prevent poachers from killing rhinoceroses for their horns, which are destined for the Asian pseudo-scientific medicinal market. Unfortunately, rhinos are not the only endangered wildlife currently being hunted by criminal organizations aiming to profit from this unscrupulous, but highly lucrative trade.
Being the second largest black market in the world, the illegal wildlife trade is decreasing the Earth’s biodiversity at an increasingly alarming rate. Estimated to be a multi-billion dollar industry, transnational crime organizations have systematized the trade causing many endangered species to become extinct while also accelerating the rate of extinction of others. Consequently, it is thought that 20 percent of all existing species will be extinct by 2020.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a UN treaty enacted in 1973, was designed to prevent international wildlife trade from depleting the world’s biodiversity. Although monumental in its time, CITES has failed to prevent this trade from expanding because national governments have not sufficiently responded to this crisis of illegal wildlife trafficking.
As the world’s largest importer of illegal wildlife, the U.S. plays a vital role in perpetuating this incredibly harmful trade. Thus, it is paramount that the U.S. implement paradigm shifting procedures, which other nations can follow, to prevent illegal wildlife from entering the country. First, the number of U.S. wildlife inspectors must be drastically increased to cover the forty points of wildlife entry. Second, penalties for involvement in organized crime and illegal wildlife trafficking must be raised to a level that makes it unprofitable and unwise for traffickers to continue. Finally, extradition of transnational wildlife traffickers must be made easier so that international legal cooperation can crack down on these criminals.
By signing this petition, you will be acknowledging this growing threat to our planet and demanding that action be taken to prevent the continuation of illegal wildlife trafficking.
Dear U.S. Congress and Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano,
The illegal wildlife trade has grown to become the second largest black market in the world and is now largely controlled by transnational crime organizations seeking to profit from the destruction of the world’s biodiversity.
Although the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was an encouraging sign of international cooperation for environmental conservation, national governments have still not implemented effective domestic policies for the prevention of illegal wildlife trafficking. As the world’s largest importer of illegal wildlife trafficking, it is the U.S. responsibility to institute paradigm-shifting policies for the prevention of this trade.
Therefore, I ask you to do several things to stop this destructive trade. First, I ask you to drastically increase the number of wildlife inspectors to adequately protect the forty points of wildlife entry. Second, I urge you to raise the penalties for involvement in organized crime and illegal wildlife trafficking to a level that will discontinue the trade and make it unprofitable. Finally, I implore you to facilitate extradition so that wildlife traffickers across national boundaries can be tried .
[Your Name Will Go Here]