This is the most conceptually complex of the three pillars, and the one for which Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) had the least developed pre-existing projects. However, since September 2013, WCS has: developed a WCS Africa/Asia transcontinental wildlife trafficking strategy with a major focus on ivory trafficking; have developed or are developing a number of major grant applications for anti-trafficking work that will allow WCS to significantly scale up our anti-trafficking work in Africa and from Africa to the major ivory markets in Asia.
Most importantly, WCS is now:
Focusing on tackling the illegal wildlife trade, including ivory, in a suite of countries in Africa and Asia and with a particular focus on a number of key countries including Vietnam, China, Cambodia, India, Lao PDR and Indonesia in Asia; and the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Mozambique in Africa.
Has professionalized its capabilities to execute and/or catalyze intelligence led operations against traffickers at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. As a key part of that effort we have hired a wildlife trafficking analyst, now based in Kenya.
Has built a state of the art confidential intelligence database of thousands of traffickers of nearly all protected species from all around the world.
Is using that information to provide actionable intelligence to enforcement agencies in major source, transit, and destination countries.
Has continued their detection dog work and collaborations with Conservation Justice in Gabon and the Project for the Application of Law for Fauna (PALF) in Congo. WCS is also using detection dogs in Tanzania.
Is working with a number of countries in Africa and Asia on ivory stockpile management, inventory, and destruction initiatives as well as through our engagement with the CITES led National Ivory Action Plan process for several of the countries required to develop such plans including Cambodia, Gabon, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, and Vietnam. As part of that effort we and the UK based NGO Stop Ivory assisted the governments of the Republic of Congo and Mozambique to conduct national stockpile inventories and report the resulting data to CITES.
WCS is also supporting the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), which was launched in London in February 2014 by the Governments of Botswana, Tanzania, Gabon, Ethiopia, and Chad. Subsequently Uganda, Malawi, Angola, the Republic of Congo and Kenya have joined and a number of other African Elephant range States are considering joining including Mozambique. The EPI is an African Government, not NGO, lead initiative. Other, non-range, States as well as NGOs and IGOs can, however, join the EPI: WCS was the first international NGO to do so and we remain a strong partner of the EPI. African Elephant Range States members of the EPI agree (1) to close domestic ivory markets in those participating States still operating a domestic market; (2) observe a moratorium on any future international trade in ivory for a minimum of 10 years and thereafter until African elephant populations are no longer threatened; (3) agree to put all ivory stockpiles beyond economic use; and (4) develop an initiative to federate national parks and wildlife agencies in Africa, in order to exchange lessons learned and technical experience aimed at promoting south-south cooperation. The primary purpose of the EPI Declaration is, however, to implement the African Elephant Action Plan (AEAP). The primary relevance of WCS's engagement with the EPI in the context of our CGI commitment are the calls for closing domestic ivory markets and a moratorium on future international trade in ivory.
WCS is also a member of the United for Wildlife Task Force that is working with the transport industry to address trafficking in ivory and other wildlife parts and products.
WCS Vice President for International Policy, Dr. Susan Lieberman and WCS President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cristián Samper both sit on the President's Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking .
Notable recent successes in the US include WCS's work with others (especially through the WCS convened 96elephants campaign) to secure ivory trade bans in several US states including California, New Jersey and New York and work with the US Government to help strengthen Federal restrictions on inter-state ivory trade. In addition, we are campaigning for tighter regulation on ivory trading in the UK and the rest of Europe and have contributed significantly to the development of the EU Action Plan Against Wildlife Trafficking. We are also providing technical advice to the Chinese Government for its proposed ban on commercial trade in ivory in China, which has the potential to be a 'game-changer'.