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US Committed to Prosecuting Wildlife Trafficking

  • VOA News

FILE - A young Sumatran orangutan looks out from a travel cage as it arrives at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program quarantine at Batu Mbelin, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The orangutan was recovered after wildlife traffickers were caught smuggling it out of the region.

FILE - A young Sumatran orangutan looks out from a travel cage as it arrives at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program quarantine at Batu Mbelin, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The orangutan was recovered after wildlife traffickers were caught smuggling it out of the region.

The United States Department of Justice says it is firmly committed to "vigorously prosecuting" illegal wildlife trafficking.

In a new report, the agency described 2015 as a "turning point" in the global effort to combat wildlife trafficking. It says more than 30 people and businesses have been prosecuted as the result of a multi-year initiative aimed at ending the illegal trade.

"We must take the profit out of wildlife trafficking to stop the criminals who are robbing from our children and grandchildren the great diversity of life on our planet," said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden of the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

"Each illegally-traded horn or tusk represents not simply an object but a dead animal."

The DOJ says that in 2015, its Wildlife Trafficking Task Force campaign, aimed at dissuading consumers from buying illegal wildlife or wildlife products, reached tens of millions of people in the United States and Asia.

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