The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs hosted an event called “Front Line Defenders: Honoring Those Who Protect Wildlife” to commemorate World Wildlife Day. The event brought together conservationists and others who are on the front lines of this global fight to discuss the real costs of wildlife trafficking, including the human toll in loss of life, livelihoods, and damage to communities. During the past decade, more than 1,000 rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty worldwide.
Wildlife trafficking threatens iconic species and breeds instability as billions of dollars from the illegal trade fuel international criminal networks and put innocent people in the crossfire. The U.S. Government, including the Department of State, works to strengthen international cooperation and enforcement and raise awareness to end demand for trafficked wildlife and wildlife products.
Speakers from the U.S. government included Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G. Garber, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield, and U.S. Agency for International Development Deputy Assistant Administrator Carrie Thompson. Speakers from the conservation community included Founder of Global Conservation Force Mike Veale, Director of the Thin Green Line Foundation Andrew Batt, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the African Parks Network Andrea Heydlauff, Vice President of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation Susan Herman Lylis, and Founder of Freeland Brasil Juliana Machado Ferreira.