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WildAid and Josh Duhamel Urge U.S. Travelers Not to Buy Endangered Wildlife Products

Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel is starring in a new WildAid awareness campaign releasing on World Sea Turtle Day. Trade in illicit products made from wildlife threatens many species worldwide. Whether ivory carvings and trinkets, coral jewelry or tortoiseshell accessories, travelers buying these products often unknowingly contribute to the illegal killing of animals.

The campaign, a joint effort of WildAid, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, will appear on broadcast television stations nationwide, as well as in major international transit hubs like airports and cruise ship terminals in collaboration with the travel and tourism industries.

WildAid CEO Peter Knights Honored

Wildlife champion Peter Knights has been honored with a Bay Area Jefferson Award for public service. A segment featuring Knights and fellow shark advocate Julie Packard of the Monterey Bay Aquarium aired on KPIX Channel 5 News.

The U.S. Illegal Wildlife Trade: More than Ivory and Rhino Horn

African grey parrots, confiscated in the illegal pet trade

Four out of five Americans consider themselves to be wildlife lovers — hardly surprising, given how many millions of views the average cute animal video racks up. Yet only a small percentage of the public — less than 20 percent — knows anything about the illegal wildlife trade flourishing in the United States, according to a recent public opinion poll commissioned by WildAid.

Is the Illegal Wildlife Trade a U.S. Problem?

WildAid CEO Peter Knights speaks at one of two launch events of WildAid's U.S. campaign with U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Following the release of a new survey showing shocking declines in African elephant numbers, WildAid and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have launched #StopWildlifeTrafficking, a nationwide public awareness campaign against the illegal wildlife trade in support of the White House National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking.

International wildlife trafficking is worth an estimated $10-20 billion per year annually, making it one of the world’s largest illicit trades after illegal drugs, arms and human trafficking. The United States is a chief consumer of wildlife products (both legal and illegal), but a recent poll commissioned by WildAid found 80 percent of Americans know little or nothing about illegal wildlife trade within the United States. As a result, travelers often are unaware that products they bring into the United States are prohibited.

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Success! U.S. Effectively Bans Ivory Trade

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2016) — In a bold effort to save Africa’s elephants, the Obama Administration has released strong, clear rules aimed at effectively shutting down the U.S. ivory market, one of the world’s largest.

Released Thursday, the final Endangered Species Act special rule for the African elephant substantially limits imports, exports and sales of African elephant ivory across state lines, while carving limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items, such as musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms that contain less than 200 grams of ivory. The rule was finalized after a lengthy review period that drew 1.3 million public comments overwhelmingly in favor of protecting elephants.

The new rules issued Thursday by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follow landmark commitments made last fall by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to abolish the domestic ivory markets in their respective nations. Hong Kong officials announced in January their intentions to do the same, followed by France, which announced a ban on the ivory trade soon after the historic ivory burn ceremony in Kenya on April 30.

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