Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced a wildlife crime bill in the United States Senate today. This is an important milestone to fight wildlife crime. The leadership of Senator Coons and Senator Flake on combatting international wildlife crime shows their commitment to addressing a crime that threatens rare animals and our security interests. Their trailblazing work on the issue greatly improves the chances of a more robust response to the current wildlife crisis. It would give more tools to fight back against those who want to hurt us and our allies, while simultaneously helping to save the world’s most magnificent animals from extinction.
Three years ago the Stimson Center set out to redefine the fight against those who seek to hurt animals and irreversibly damage our natural world. We began by understanding and approaching the issue from a more holistic point of view and by engaging with and earning the trust of key U.S. and foreign governments. We are pleased to report that along with partners over these past three years we have achieved the following successes:
FRAMING THE NARRATIVE:
Stimson has published a series of opinion pieces and articles in major news outlets to move the narrative on wildlife and environmental crime away from lofty ideals towards pragmatic steps for action, and to reach and bring in new actors needed for implementing solutions. Examples of this work include:
- “Killing Lions, Buying Bombs” (New York Times, August 9, 2013)
- “Break the Link Between Terrorism Funding and Poaching” (Washington Post, January 31, 2014)
- “Fishing for War: How to Avoid a War with China Over Seafood – and Take a Bite in World Poverty” (Politico, April 20, 2015)
- “Five Myths About Wildlife Poaching” (Washington Post, April 17, 2015)
- “A Very Real Problem” (Cipher Brief, November 30, 2015)
Please visit our Environmental Crime website for more information.
TECHNOLOGICAL PILOT PROJECT TO COMBAT POACHING:
Less than a year into starting this work, Stimson successfully launched a pilot project, Project Ngulia, to design and implement technological solutions to combat poaching in the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park in Kenya. This year, the Kenya Wildlife Service published a brief report on the project.
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION AND ENGAGEMENT:
Wide recognition for the innovation and high impact of Stimson’s work has positioned Stimson as a trusted player and expert on these issues, evidenced by the following:
- Invitation join a Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative, and to keynote a luncheon briefing featuring Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Clinton at the Initiative’s 2014 Winter meeting on our work
- Hosted an event with General Carter Ham (ret.), former commander of AFRICOM on security implications of wildlife trafficking ahead of the London conference on illegal wildlife trade
- Hosted an event with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) on legislation for combatting wildlife crime
Starting next year Stimson is going to elevate our efforts in the areas of illegal fishing, marine protected areas, and designing integrated solutions to environmental crime and natural resource issues. We will scale our efforts with Project Ngulia and continue to engage with policymakers to shape the national and international agenda on these issues.