Today is Susan Rice’s first day on the job as National Security Advisor. And already her portfolio has been expanded.
President Obama signed today an executive order on “Combating Wildlife Trafficking.” The directive reads, “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to address the significant effects of wildlife trafficking on the national interests of the United States, I hereby order as follows:”
Section 1. Policy. The poaching of protected species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their derivative parts and products (together known as “wildlife trafficking”) represent an international crisis that continues to escalate. Poaching operations have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to coordinated slaughter commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates. The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations. Wildlife trafficking reduces those benefits while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability, and undermining security. Also, the prevention of trafficking of live animals helps us control the spread of emerging infectious diseases. For these reasons, it is in the national interest of the United States to combat wildlife trafficking.