9:00 A.M. EST
THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MODERATOR: Again, introducing Under Secretary Hormats. Please.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Good morning.
QUESTION: Good morning.
QUESTION: Good morning.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, thank you all for coming. What I thought I would do is – I don’t know if you – I’m sure you all have followed all these wildlife developments, so what I thought I’d do is just go through a few of the key points that are sort of prominent in our thinking on where we’re going and what we’re doing in this area.
There are a whole range of issues that relate to the slaughter and the trafficking of wildlife throughout the world, and the origins of the new initiatives that we’ve been taking really date back, in part, to a lot of the very good work that the State Department has been doing for a very long time in this area. But the greater degree of urgency we attach to it has really resulted from the fact that, first of all, the slaughters have increased substantially over the last couple of years with large numbers – in some cases, 2- to 300 elephants being killed at a single slaughter in – over the course of a couple of days, and then very large numbers of rhinos have been killed very recently, particularly in South Africa, for their horns, which are ground up and made into rhino horn powder. So these are just two sets of examples, but there are many others.
The amount of wildlife trade now – illegal wildlife trade is something in the order of $7-$8 billion, so when you think about it, it’s way up there in terms of illegal trade with drugs, arms, human trafficking, and wildlife. So this is serious, insofar as large numbers of animals are being killed, also large numbers of wildlife rangers are being killed. A hundred or so are killed every year defending these animals. And the amount of this illegal trafficking syndicates have – in terms of the volume of their trade has increased substantially. And when these countries are attacked and this massive poaching takes place, it is destabilizing to the countries because large numbers of either militia or wildlife poachers going across their borders into other countries and taking – killing animals, taking them out, bribing people – judges or border guards or others in the law enforcement sector – threatens the stability of some of these fragile countries. So this is part of the problem that we face, to look at all these dimensions.
So what have we done? We have put together a number of things. One, we’re meeting on a regular basis – very regular basis with the NGOs, and there are many of them. In fact, I was just yesterday speaking at a conference that was organized by the World Wildlife Fund , and we’ve been meeting with them, but many other NGOs that are actively involved in this area. There are NGOs that are focused on elephants and rhinos and tigers and various other – and marine wildlife. And we are working with a wide range of NGOs to get information and also to describe what we we’re doing.
Second thing we’re doing is to try to raise the level of awareness from a political point of view, and that is – we recently hosted a group of ambassadors from various countries, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa in particular, but also Australia and Latin America, where we identified some areas for potential cooperation, because this has to be done in a cooperative way. I mean, no one country can solve this problem. It requires collaboration among a number of countries, and therefore, we want to make sure that it’s not aimed at any one country. Because the United States, after all, we shouldn’t forget, is the second-largest importer of illegal wildlife trafficking, so we need to recognize that we’re part of the problem, and therefore we need to be part of the answer. So it’s not us pointing fingers at other countries; it’s demonstrating that we’re working with other countries, and that everyone can do a better job and should do a better job in this area.
Another area where we’re – and then we – Secretary Clinton had a conference where she brought together a large number of people – foreign ambassadors, NGOs, others – and spoke at the conference and underscored the commitment of the United States and the fact that we were developing a number of new initiatives in this area, which we’re going to be pursuing over the next several months and years.
In addition to that, the public relations part is very important because many people – I’ll give you an example. China – 70 percent of the people in China don’t realize that when they buy an ivory ornament, an elephant’s killed to provide that. I think there was a general feeling from the survey that, well, they could just sort of take the tusks of the elephant and the elephant would survive, but in fact, the elephants that are killed provide these ivory ornaments. And the same is true with rhinos. You just can’t take the rhino horn and grind it up. The rhino is killed to get the horn. Needless to say, tiger skins – the tiger is killed to get the skin. And it goes down the line. Animals are killed to provide either ornaments for people, rugs for people, false medicines. Because the notion of utilizing a rhino tusk for curing cancer is absurd to anyone who understands it, but there are people who actually think that that’s the case and they spend $30,000 a year for ground rhino horn to allegedly cure cancer when it clearly does not.
In fact, to deal with that particular issue, I worked with Harold Varmus, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in cancer research and who’s now head of the National Cancer Institute at NIH. And we did a blog which got 300 separate publications to pick it up and use it in Southeast Asia. So – although we sent it around the world, but it’s the Southeast Asians who have sort of heard about this as a cancer treatment, rhino horns as a cancer treatment, began to realize that this is not really true and they shouldn’t buy it. But it’s an example of the kind of things we’re doing in the public relations area.
And then we’ve also tried to raise the visibility to the head of state level and the foreign ministers level through putting this into the communiqué of the APEC heads of state, which met in Vladivostok a few weeks ago. And the President and the Secretary of State are going to raise this at the East Asia Summit, which is just taking place next week. So we’ll be in a position to have elevated this and to give it more international attention, and that’s important. But international attention and putting it in the communiqué is – and education are an important part of this, but then we have other aspects of it, one of which is that we’re developing a number of programs for regional cooperation. We have these wildlife enforcement networks, or WENs, that we’re developing because you can’t do it with one country. You need these collaboration in Southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Central Africa, and elsewhere. So we’re developing these.
We have other groups, the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT), that we have developed, and Australia is now the chair (inaudible). So we’re trying to bring more and more countries in. There are various aid programs that are focused on developing training approaches to these countries, which is to say, bringing wildlife judicial experts, border guards, police, justices from various court systems throughout Africa, in this case, but other parts of the world will have this too. We’re doing one – one is in Gaborone, other is in Bangkok. So we’re trying to bring people from the region together to train them more in how do you protect wildlife, how do you ensure the judicial system is sufficient to protect it. So that’s another thing that we’re doing, and we’re also training more and more people not just through these centers but through various bilateral training programs. So we’ve got a whole range of things that we’re doing and we’re developing, and this is part of our strategy as well.
And another thing we’re doing is we need more intelligence on this, because, as in the drug trade, a lot of this stuff is done below the radar screen. How do these people get helicopters or AK-47s, or other – night goggles? These are not things you just get on the streets of a normal city, so – (inaudible) helicopters, so where do they get them? How do they transmit their money? How do they move the ivory or the tiger skins or other things that they get? How do they move them around? We want to have a really good intelligence look at this, because that will help us, and it will help other countries, because in many cases their intelligence are not adequate also, so this is something we’re spending a lot of time and will be. Once we get our intelligence reports we’ll have a better idea of how to go about this.
So these are just a few examples of the kinds of things we’re doing, and why we’re doing them. So I’m happy to answer any questions.
MODERATOR: Great. We’ll take questions now, but just please state your name and your news agency before your question. We’ll start with questions here in Washington.
QUESTION: I have a question. I am Fabienne Faur from Agence France-Presse. The fight against trafficking is not new.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: No.
QUESTION: How do you explain its increasing, and could you be more specific? Could you give us some figures about the number of animals killed –
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Yes.
QUESTION: -- every day or every year, and which kind of animal?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Yes. Sure. Very good question. And that – I mean, one of the problems is just what you said in the first part of your question. It’s increasing. And so the question is, why? The major reason it’s increasing is because demand is going up for it, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. As incomes grow, people have more money to spend, and in many cases they spend it on what they consider to be luxury goods or, some cases, religious icons that are made of ivory. But they – the purchasing power of the areas where this stuff is bought primarily has gone up, and with the purchasing power having gone up, more of these things are purchased. So it’s created a big increase in demand for ivory in particular, but also for rhino horns and other products, skins from animals that people use for rugs, things of that sort. But rhino horn and the ivory are the – are probably the area where you’ve seen the biggest volume increase. And – because the price has gone up so much.
And that – just to give you an example – one rhino horn treatment for cancer – it’s a fake treatment, but – $30,000. Twenty years ago, many people in these regions couldn’t afford $30,000. Now they can. Ivory has gone up in price just because demand for ivory – there was a really good article in the National Geographic on ivory trade, and one of the points they made was that just demand’s gone up so much because people have more money to spend. So that’s shortly the main reason, sort of demand has created more supply. And of course, if you have more money and you’re the poacher, you can buy off more people, you can afford weapons, you can create these devices for moving these things around that are expensive. I mean, you have to fly these things in some cases. So – but now with the price so high, you’d do that. An ivory tusk can go for $1,000. Well, $1,000 is much more than the people in these countries make in a year in some cases.
So, now the volume. We have a pretty good idea. It’s very hard to give an accurate number, but we have a pretty good idea. At the low end, we think that there’s – the way it’s measured is you look at the number of tusks that are being sold, which we have a reasonable idea. At the low end, there are at least 25,000 elephants killed every year illegally, and around 500 rhinos killed every year illegally. And the population – the elephant population of – this is Kenya alone, as expressed by the Kenyan Ambassador – has gone from something – I think their number was something like 150,000 elephants to 40,000 elephants. This is Kenya, just Kenya. And we know in – just to give you one example – Cameroon, there was a slaughter of elephants over a day or two period – 250 elephant at a minimum. It’s hard to tell, but probably 250 elephants were killed in a couple day period in Cameroon.
So it just – slaughter at a very, very high level. And very brutal slaughter because these – a lot of these are killed by – they have helicopters and they – and we know, by the way, when the autopsies of the elephants were done that the bullets came from the air. That’s how we know it came from helicopters. So – and we actually – helicopters have been spotted. They’re not able to shoot them down because they don’t have the weaponry to do it. But it’s certainly helicopters.
So you can see – and an AK-47 – it’s not like one guy with a rifle out there shooting at elephants, as bad as that is. These are AK-47s that can shoot large numbers of them at any given point, and helicopters, of course, can just decimate groups of elephants. So the volume’s increased dramatically.
QUESTION: Sir, you mentioned that the U.S. is a major market --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We buy – the thing is – we are, that’s right. The kind of things we buy – it’s sort of a different kind of market. Americans – we do – there is ivory trade here, not so much rhino horn trade. But things people import – protected tropical birds and skins of reptiles for shoes and things like that, furs of some certain kinds of – although the Border and Customs Service has now have sort of stopped that. It’s hard to smuggle in big skins, but a lot of illegal pets or wildlife that are smuggled in live – and ivory.
QUESTION: And then so again, what will be the volume of (inaudible)?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We don’t – that’s a good – we don’t really know. We have a pretty good idea that in volume it’s number two. But these are – that’s what our intelligence is going to --
QUESTION: Right. But when you say that you are number two, you don’t want to be number two, is that – (laughter) --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We certainly don’t. I want to be number zero.
QUESTION: And then so – yeah.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We want to be number zero. So it’s very hard to quantify this, but we’ve taken it – the reason it’s so hard to quantify – it’s various things – the customs service seizes these when it gets them. So – but on the basis of what they seize, we know that there’s a lot of it that comes in that we haven’t been able to seize. So we don’t – these are real estimates.
But of course, we don’t want to be number two, and one of the things we’re doing is cracking down hard – we had the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is very actively involved; the customs people are very actively involved. As you probably know, when you go to Reagan National Airport, there are big signs up – don’t – it says, I’m not – a picture of a tiger – if you come out of the U.S. air, it says I’m not a rug and has a picture of a tiger. So what we’re trying to do is internally in the U.S. stop this.
And we understand we have to do a better job too. And one of the things I want to mention is one of our closest partners in dealing with this is the Russian Federation. Really interesting because we were able, during the Vladivostok meeting, to work very closely with Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin to ensure that there was very strong language put into the communiqué because, as you very well know, President Putin is a big protector of animal wildlife, particularly tigers, but also these amur leopards and snow leopards and various things that are in Siberia and the Russian far east. So we consider this an area where we want to work very closely with the Russian Federation and – as partners, because I think there is a very strong – President Putin is enthusiastic about wildlife protection. We think the Russian Federation would be a great partner to work on this.
QUESTION: So what specifically – what projects specifically --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Ah, okay. That’s a good question. We have a number of projects where we’ve – USAID, which is no longer going to operating in Russia – but we had a number of projects where USAID was working on wildlife issues, and we’re going to try to find other ways – now we have to figure out other ways of doing this, but the – Russia does a very good job internally. We really admire what Russia is doing internally, so – but we thought in the international area, we could work with Russia to strengthen these international organizations –CITES, which is the Convention – CITES Convention International – Against Wildlife – Convention International Trade in Endangered Species, which Russia is a member of, as is China. So we want to work with them.
QUESTION: And the number one market – that is China?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: China.
QUESTION: Who is the number three, by the way?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: I don’t know – Vietnam? It could be.
QUESTION: So it’s somebody there --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: There is a number three. We’ve – these are all working numbers, don’t forget, because they’re illegal trade, so we don’t really know what – who is what. But these are best estimates. I think they’re – I don’t think they’re wrong, it’s just that it’s harder to quantify. But here’s the interesting thing: Let’s take China. We don’t want to make it Africa versus China or us. This is not an issue where we see this as a confrontation or a divisional issue between us and China. We see this as an area where we can cooperate with China, as we cooperate with the Russian Federation. Russia’s not a big importer of this stuff because there’s a lot of appreciation of wildlife in Russia.
And – but in China, there’s a lot of protection of Chinese wildlife in China, pandas, and many other animals. There are very stiff penalties for killing wildlife in China. China has not just pandas but a lot of wildlife. Particularly in western China and up toward the Russian border, there’s a lot of animals – and – bears and things like that, monkeys. So they protect them. And what we want to do is take that same spirit that the Chinese have in protecting their own wildlife and work with them to make sure that they don’t important endangered species from the rest of the world. And in fact, I’m going to be in Beijing in a couple of weeks meeting with the Ministry of Forestry. The Minister of Forestry is the ministry that runs their game parks. Here it’s the Minister of Interior, but the Minister of Interior in most countries is not the same as our Minister of Interior. So that would be the idea.
QUESTION: Your National Parks Service wants to kill the deer here. Maybe you should (inaudible) capture a lot them and bring them to Russia, and someday want to introduce the species.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Oh, really.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: It’s good idea.
MODERATOR: Just take a moment and let our callers on the telephone know that if you’d like to ask a question, please press * and then 1 to join the question queue. We’ll come back to you in just a few moments.
QUESTION: So, if I may after –
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Sure.
QUESTION: -- I’d like to (inaudible) meeting with (inaudible).
QUESTION: Those that – you were talking about cooperation. Is it illegal in the Chinese law to important rhino horns?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: They are member of society. Yes, it’s illegal.
QUESTION: So when you --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: It’s illegal because they’re a part of this international convention.
QUESTION: So again --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: A lot of it is, it’s illegal to import it here. But the problem is we all need to toughen up on import restrictions. In other words, enforcement, tougher border enforcement, and tougher enforcement of sales. A lot of people buy this here stuff over the internet – I mean, Keri (ph) was just checking internet today – you can find --
PARTICIPANT: Yeah, if you Google ivory, you can find sites that sell it, and that’s part of the issue is that there are – the antiques are legal and you can still find what are, quote, “legal” sales, but there’s also illegal.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Antique ivory is considered okay, but people hide behind the antique provision to by things that they put on their shelves. So, I mean, the objective, I think, in the end is to stop all sales of ivory and – because it’s so easy for you to say, “Gee, I didn’t know, thought it was an antique.” Well, you can pretty well tell antique ivory, but – if you’re an expert. But the average person doesn’t know, so they go on the web, they look, they – someone says antique; that could be shot a month ago. So that’s part of the dilemma.
QUESTION: But the rhino horn powder are – can be --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: That’s totally illegal.
QUESTION: Yes. But they can be bought from markets in China.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Totally. Absolutely right.
QUESTION: Open, not (inaudible). You have (inaudible.)
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: (Inaudible.) It’s true.
QUESTION: (Laughter.) So what do they say?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, that’s one of the things I want to talk to them about. And here’s the problem in China. They – I don’t think the government has any desire for people to buy rhino horn. I mean, they have an interest in the health of their people, just as we have an interest in the health of our people. But it’s become part of what people regard as traditional Chinese medicine.
Now there are actually some very, very good elements of traditional Chinese medicine. If you look at a number of our drugs that we use today, many of them come from natural products. Aspirin, for instance, is a natural product. Some very potent cancer drugs are – come from trees, tree bark. So it’s not wrong to say that there are some very good traditional Chinese medicines that do work, but the key is for the Chinese Government and the Chinese media to make a distinction between what works and what does not work and what’s illegal and what is not illegal. Most of these traditional Chinese medicines are not illegal. You go to a store – I’m sure you’ve seen these stores where they have roots and all these things. You don’t know what’s in them, but they evidently work for people. But rhino horn certainly doesn’t work, and these – for anything.
So part of the things that we’re trying to do is to get them to make clear to their people this – first of all, it’s illegal to import endangered species in China; rhinos are endangered species. And second, why spend $30,000 a year on something that just cannot work? If you’re sick and you need drugs, buy drugs that do work or have a chance of working anyway. So that sort of thing.
Did you have a question?
QUESTION: (Off mike.)
MODERATOR: We have some questions from the media hub.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Okay.
MODERATOR: Great. Please. Okay. And just a reminder to callers to press *1 to join the question queue.
OPERATOR: Yes. Thank you. Our next question comes from Aggrey Mutambo from the Daily Nation in Kenya. You can ask your question. Please state your name and affiliation.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: (Inaudible).
QUESTION: My name is Aggrey Mutambo, reporting from Daily Nation in Nairobi. I’m (inaudible) now.
I would like to know if there’s any specific measures being undertaken by the U.S. Government (inaudible) called poaching of elephants. You said in your statement that we are one of the highest affected. And I would like to know as well if there are any specific syndicates you’ve discovered that are trafficking this ivory. At the same time, I would like to know if this ivory that has been discovered in the South Asian countries, (inaudible) – are they part of the Kenyan stock that was (inaudible) or where is it coming from?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Okay. Well, I mean, certainly there’s a lot of poaching of ivory in Kenya. We are working with the – we’re trying to set up a wildlife enforcement network in the region – and that process is underway – so we can work with the Kenyan Government, as well as Tanzania and Uganda, to address this issue in a collective way. Because as you know, the game parks along the border – the game can move back and forth, so it needs to be regional. So what we’re trying to do is work with the Kenyan authorities. We have programs in Kenya to work with the regional wildlife authorities on poaching.
And I lived in Kenya and Tanzania for a year, so I know – I’m very familiar with the wildlife issues there, and we are definitely going to be working with the governments of both countries. And in fact, the Kenyan Ambassador came to the meeting we had in the State Department and made a very eloquent statement about the challenges that the Government of Kenya faces and the number of elephants that have been killed and areas where we can actually cooperate better.
On the question of the Kenyan tusks that were found in Southeast Asia, we’re – there’s a group – we’re – one of things we’re looking at is to identify where they all have come from. In fact, I met with someone yesterday who is now able to do DNA tests on the actual ivory to determine where it came from. They can tell from the tusks, doing just a little scraping of DNA, where it came from. So what we’re trying to do is utilize new scientific techniques to identify where this came from. And I think it’s important that we do that, because that information can be very helpful to the wildlife authorities in Kenya and Tanzania.
We also would like to see a collective ban – using CITES – a collective ban on all sales of ivory for the next several years. There’s a resolution now in CITES to just simply stop trade in ivory. And we think that would be very helpful, because it avoids this notion that people say, “Well, some of this ivory is legal,” or, “Some of it’s illegal.” It’s very confusing to the consumer if they don’t know and they figure, well, if it’s on the internet it must be legal. Well, if it’s on the internet, you have no way of knowing whether it’s legal or not. So if you – if we simply stop the additional sales of ivory going forward, that would be, I think, a very good step in the right direction.
So we would like to work with the governments of the region and elsewhere on a cooperative effort to do that. Because – but we are trying – and one of things we’re trying to do is utilize our intelligence capability, working with other countries to share information on where we think all this is coming from. It comes from certain areas, and if we find out which areas they are, we’re better able to help the wildlife rangers to identify it. And we also know that many brave Kenyan wildlife rangers have been killed protecting the animals, so we’re going to try to provide more training to help the wildlife rangers to do this – to do their job. And they’ve done a great job; it’s just that they’re outdone in many cases.
MODERATOR: We’ll take another question from our media hub and then we’ll take one from Washington.
OPERATOR: Thank you. Just to remind participants that to ask a question, please dial *1. Okay. Do we have another question? I will hand it over to Belinda. (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: Great. Thank you.
QUESTION: I’m (inaudible) from World Business Press Online news agency from Slovakia. I’d like to ask you – I was just wondering when you were talking about the cooperation with other countries, I was just wondering if there is any kind of cooperation also with the European Union, if European Union also participates on this issue, and maybe which member countries from the European Union participate.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Well, it’s a very good question. The answer is yes, European – Europe imports some of this too, so we need to work with the EU. What – I mean, there are areas where we think we can work together. We invited some EU ambassadors, actually, to our ambassadorial meeting that we held a couple of weeks ago. So we want to be sure the EU is involved because there’s a very strong group of pro-wildlife advocates in the EU. So we’re trying to figure out how to work with the EU.
What we want to do – I mean, there are certain areas that we think a lot of countries could work on together, including the EU. One is to get all of the airlines – our airlines – starting with our airlines, but others – to agree not to ship illegally trafficked, illegally slaughtered wildlife, either the products or the animals themselves. It’s illegal to do that for a country that’s signed on to the CITES Convention. But if you can reemphasize that and get all the airlines to adopt best practices, and that is to be very vigilant about what they ship – and then the shipping lines; I mean, there are a few major shipping lines, if we could get them to do the same thing and be more vigilant.
I actually think the advantage of that is it’s great branding for them to say, “We’re strong advocates of wildlife protection,” so – and the – what we’re also trying to do is get younger people to utilize social networking to – in fact, we had some great suggestions. I gave a speech yesterday at WWF, and one woman came up afterwards with some wonderful suggestions for getting younger people to be involved in this and to write letters and text one another and tweet one another and say, “Look, this is not cool to kill all these wildlife or to buy the products that come from them.”
So we’re going to do that, and we think EU – we think the young Americans, young Europeans, young Chinese – it’s a great opportunity for them to really be part of the answer. And they want to be, I think. So we’ve talked with someone from Google yesterday. So we’re going to try to work with the EU a lot. We think it’s one of the areas where we can really make some progress, just like – just – it’s not cool; tell your parents not to buy this stuff.
MODERATOR: Great. We just wanted to ask, are there any additional questions from our media hub?
OPERATOR: Yes. Our next question comes from Jason Strasville (ph) from (inaudible). Please state your name and affiliation and ask your question.
QUESTION: I think she got it right. My name is Jason from (inaudible). One of the countries that has a real problem with the deaths of elephants in particular in this region is Tanzania, and I haven’t heard you mention Tanzania yet. But the estimates of monthly killed there is just astonishing, and it actually suggests that many people in the government structure must be complicit in this in order for all these deaths to be happening and for the tusks to make it out of the country. Is there anything you can say about Tanzania in particular? Do you have any concerns about government involvement there? Are you focusing on that country when it comes to --
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Yes, we’re definitely focusing. I mentioned that we’re trying to develop a wildlife enforcement network in East Africa, and Tanzania would be a big part of that. As I mentioned, I lived in Tanzania for about a year, so I’m pretty familiar with the territory. And I think that we need to really engage Tanzania for just the reasons that you mentioned. There’s just been a lot of killing in Tanzania, especially of late, and we don’t know quite why all this is happening.
But let me just make a few points here. (A) having lived there, the killing to me is especially tragic, having seen it and seen the wonderful wildlife of Tanzania, and to see these animals – as you say, elephants in particular – being slaughtered is really a huge tragedy. Second, for Tanzania, it deprives the country of its patrimony, and that is – one of the major sources of income for many Tanzanians is wildlife and the wildlife reserves. I mean, interesting – obviously, examples in Ngorongoro. But there are many other game reserves in Tanzania as well, and there are, I think, real concerns that with the depletion through slaughter of large numbers of elephants and other animals, the future of many, many people in Tanzania will be undermined because people won’t come there to see the game parks, and therefore a lot of their future source of revenue will diminish.
The third is that the Government of Tanzania has been – has done a number of really good things in the agricultural area and many other areas, and I think it’s a shame that this huge amount of poaching is really undermining the image of Tanzania worldwide in a very serious way. Because there are concerns about this and – in many countries, including the United States, but we’re not the only ones who raise this. You hear this in other – just the kind of concerns you’ve raised – in other parts of the world, too. So we consider Tanzania a very good friend, we have a number of very good U.S. programs there, but we’re very surprised that there is not more action being taken to stop the slaughter in Tanzania. And we have programs that we think could be helpful to the Government of Tanzania, but it really requires a much tougher effort on the part of the Government of Tanzania to address this problem.
And we would like to see that take place and like to see very strong government leadership to stop this because it’s undermining the future of the country, it’s undermining Tanzania’s image in the world, and it is – it, for people who care about this issue, it’s putting Tanzania in a very bad position in the eyes of many people who look to Tanzania for good governance. And because they’ve made so much progress in so many areas, it’s very disappointing and very tragic that this problem has just broadened so much and has caused so many animals to be killed, and there doesn’t seem to be sufficient effort to address this problem. And we don’t quite know why, but it certainly – things are certainly going, as you’re correct – as your question correctly suggests, in the wrong direction. And we think leadership is needed by the government, by the judiciary, by law enforcement officers throughout the country to prevent this from getting worse and worse. Because it’s certainly bad and it certainly hurt Tanzania’s image very badly in the world.
MODERATOR: We have time for two more questions. This is one here in Washington.
QUESTION: A simple one: How much money do you put on the table for the fight, and is it increasing, too?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Yes. Well, we have – we’ve got a number of programs. I don’t know the – when you add them all up, how much they are, but – we’ve put several million into – they’re different programs of course. They’re programs on technical training, they’re programs where we have collaborative efforts where we have these centers, the ones in Gaborone, and then the one in Bangkok. So I don’t know what the overall amount is, but the overall amounts are several million dollars are being put into this, and we’re going to put more in. The Secretary just announced another $100,000 to strengthen collaboration among the regional wildlife – among the Wildlife Enforcement Networks, the WENs. We contribute money to the various groups that we are part of. We’re going to be putting funds into this intelligence collecting process that I had mentioned a while ago. I don’t – it’s not too easy to come up with a number because there are so many programs, some of them are technical assistance, some of them are financial assistance, some of them are assistance with – through international institutions. So I don’t have a good number, but we’ll actually try to put one together.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) we have a public fact sheet (inaudible).
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We can give you a fact sheet on the various programs.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) by email.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Yes.
MODERATOR: We can take one additional question from our colleagues in the AF media hub?
OPERATOR: Thank you. Our next question comes from Aggrey Mutambo, Daily Nation, Kenya. Please go ahead and ask your question.
QUESTION: Yes. My name is Aggrey Mutambo from Daily Nation again. I would like to know if there is any statistics to indicate that have been identified have been poaching – this massive, massive poaching in this African region, especially Kenya and Tanzania.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: We – the problem with all this is that we’re just – with all these horrible incidents, we’re just trying to put together the intelligence we need now to identify who the actual participants are. There is no question in our mind that this is very directly linked to organized crime. This is not one single incident where someone comes in with a rifle and shoots an elephant or a rhino. The only way this could function where you have trade that adds up to $7 or $8 billion is for this to be syndicated crime, where you have a network of people who are poachers, who are arms suppliers, who move the products out of Kenya or Tanzania or Uganda or South Africa or Cameroon or Gabon, or other countries that are victims here.
How do you get paid? How do you move the product? How do you find buyers? There has to be an organized crime syndicate to do this. It’s not just one or two people who shoot these animals and then sell them on their own. So this is very well organized. The challenge for us is the same challenge we actually face with the drug trade, and that is figuring out who is engaged. How do they get paid? How do they move the product? How do they get all this equipment? And we’re going to be working on this now ourselves and also with governments in the region.
There are many – there was a recent newspaper article which suggested that some rogue military forces in certain parts of the region were engaged in this – Eastern Congo, for instance. But the fact is we need to know more about it in order for us to do a better job in confronting it. And the fact that Secretary Clinton has asked the intelligence community to look at this, we hope will give us more information. Don’t forget, it took us a long time to find out how the drug trade operated, and how the money got moved because these people go to great efforts to avoid detection. They go to great efforts to avoid customs officials intercepting their – the goods they sell. So we need to have a lot more information on this in order to really go after it. But that’s our goal, is to recognize that there’s a huge volume of trade here and a lot of money and how do these crime syndicates work. And how are they connected? How is the drug trade syndicate – or syndicate connected to the wildlife trade syndicates? We have to figure this out.
So we understand the role of information in detecting these people, and stopping this, and that’s our goal. And we’re working on that very hard.
QUESTION: When did she ask them to – to the intelligence people?
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: She just – in her speech that she gave – do you have a copy?
MODERATOR: November 8th, we have copies.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: November 8. We’ll give you that.
MODERATOR: All right. Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Thank you very much. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you again to our colleagues with the AF media hub. We appreciate your participation.
UNDER SECRETARY HORMATS: Thank you.
MODERATOR: And that concludes our briefing.
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