The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar business involving the unlawful harvest of and trade in live animals and plants or parts and products derived from them.
Data on illegal wildlife products confiscated by U. S. officials suggests that a significant volume is trafficked
into the United States for sale and personal possession.
Seized products include wild-sourced meat, clothing, dÃ©cor, medicinal items, souvenirs, pets, plants, and furniture.
Some reports also indicate that wildlife products are sold online and within local stores throughout the country.
The illegal trade negatively impacts the U.S.â¿¿s natural resources and local communities that might otherwise benefit from tourism or legal, sustainable trade.
The United States issued the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking in 2014, which sets forth a robust, whole-of-government approach to the issue and focuses on three key pillars to counter wildlife trafficking â¿¿ strengthening enforcement, reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expanding international cooperation.
The National Strategy was codified into law by the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act.
The U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) seeks to complement, facilitate, and enhance existing efforts to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife by providing formal and informal educators with targeted high-quality environmental education (EE) resources to increase awareness of the illegal wildlife trade and its impact on natural resources, communities, and biodiversity; engage youth and citizens in developing behaviors and skills that prevent and mitigate their own and othersâ¿¿ contributions to illegal trade; and increase literacy of the laws that protect wildlife and facilitate sustainable use.