Anncr: Next, an editorial
reflecting the views of the United States Government:
trafficking in wildlife is growing and may be as high as $20 billion annually,
according to a 2009 report by the United States Congress. One of the regions
threatened by this illicit trade is Southeast Asia, home to many species of plants
Endangered species such as the pangolin, an ant-eating mammal native to
Southeast Asia and Africa, continue to be trafficked across international
borders despite their protected status.
The United States is working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations'
Wildlife Enforcement Network, or ASEAN-WEN, to stop the organized poaching of
the region's flora and fauna. ASEAN-WEN is part of the larger ASEAN-US Enhanced
Partnership promoting cooperation between the United States and Southeast Asia.
As part of that effort, the United States provided support for a workshop on
protecting ASEAN wildlife, held March 3-4 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The
workshop was conducted by the ASEAN's Wildlife Enforcement Network and the
Federal Courts of Malaysia. Among the participants was Robert S. Anderson,
Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and an expert on
environmental crimes. "The workshop represents one of many cooperative
programs that the U.S. and Malaysia are undertaking in our joint regional
effort to combat illegal trade," said U.S. Charge d'affaires Robert
Charge d'affaires Rapson noted that the United States is one of the top three
destinations in the world for illegally trafficked wildlife products. Recently,
the U.S. has moved to strengthen its legal framework to prevent illegal
wildlife trade. Recent amendments to the Lacey Act make it unlawful to import,
export, transport, sell, or purchase any plant taken or traded in violation of
the laws of a U.S. state, as well as most foreign laws. The amended act will be
phased in beginning April 1, 2009.
"The U.S.," said Mr. Rapson, "recognizes that combating wildlife
trafficking is not the purview of any one country, but requires collective
effort by all countries." The U.S. commends the government of Malaysia and
ASEAN for their efforts and is committed to working with its international
partners to preserve Southeast Asia's biodiversity.
Anncr: That was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A,
Washington, D-C, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment -- and view all our current
editorials -- at the V-O-A Editorials home page: