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© Ed Gullekson

Advocating for International Species

Overview

Throughout our country’s history, many of our iconic, native species – from the American alligator to the North American river otter – have had brushes with extinction due to demand for their fur, skin, feathers, or other features. When wildlife is viewed as little more than a commodity and its trade goes unchecked, species can disappear forever.

The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth $7-23 billion, making it the fourth largest illegal trade by dollar value, after drugs, guns, and humans. The United States is one of the largest consumers of both legal and illegal wildlife in the world, and the role we can play in preventing this exploitation and combatting wildlife trafficking is crucial. At Defenders of Wildlife, we cherish all wildlife and recognize the need for our leadership in this fight.