“Our world’s wildlife has a new reason for hope.”

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2015 – The following statement was released today by WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristian Samper concerning the newly released Implementation Plan for President Obama’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

Dr. Samper, along with Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President of International Policy, serves on the Advisory Council to the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking which made recommendations that helped inform the administration’s Implementation Plan announced today.

Said Dr. Samper:

“President Obama’s National Strategy and this new Implementation Plan for Combating Wildlife Trafficking represent an unprecedented commitment from the United States government to curb wildlife trafficking, an ever-increasing threat to our world’s wildlife, and to global, regional and local security. We applaud the President’s leadership and are optimistic that this strategy will bring real results in efforts to address this transnational organized crime – helping to prevent the extinction of a large array of species from the elephant, to the tiger, to the sea turtle, to the tarantula. There is indeed optimism that the scourge of poaching and illegal wildlife trade can be eliminated. Our world's wildlife has a new reason for hope.

“The implementation plan is groundbreaking as it:  marshals multiple federal agencies across the board to cooperate with each other and with nonprofit and private partners; and it highlights how success will be measured, mandating annual public progress reports. Most importantly, the plan emphasizes three strategic priorities including better enforcement and harsher penalties; reducing demand with efforts to curb consumer purchasing of these illegal products in the United States and abroad; and building international partnerships and collaboration, including through diplomacy and international agreements.

“At WCS, we have a strategy to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand of illegal wildlife. Our current campaign, 96 Elephants, with 191 partners, has already mobilized more than 458,000 citizens to take 775,000 actions to ban ivory sales in New York, New Jersey and across the United States. We are committed to assisting the government with all aspects of the national strategy and implementation plan, both in the US and in our field programs across the globe.

“I have been honored to serve on the Advisory Council with all of its members and alternates. I especially thank all of those in the federal agencies who are working tirelessly to bring this plan to fruition.”

Special Note: Dr. Samper and Dr. Lieberman are available to discuss the importance of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Please contact Mary Dixon, 347-840-1242, mdixon@wcs.org
 or Stephen Saunter at 718-220-3682, ssautner@wcs.org, for more information and interviews.