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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Executive Order -- Combating Wildlife Trafficking


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By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to address the significant effects of wildlife trafficking on the national interests of the United States, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The poaching of protected species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their derivative parts and products (together known as "wildlife trafficking") represent an international crisis that continues to escalate. Poaching operations have expanded beyond small-scale, opportunistic actions to coordinated slaughter commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates. The survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations. Wildlife trafficking reduces those benefits while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to the illegal economy, fueling instability, and undermining security. Also, the prevention of trafficking of live animals helps us control the spread of emerging infectious diseases. For these reasons, it is in the national interest of the United States to combat wildlife trafficking.

In order to enhance domestic efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, to assist foreign nations in building capacity to combat wildlife trafficking, and to assist in combating transnational organized crime, executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall take all appropriate actions within their authority, including the promulgation of rules and regulations and the provision of technical and financial assistance, to combat wildlife trafficking in accordance with the following objectives:

(a) in appropriate cases, the United States shall seek to assist those governments in anti-wildlife trafficking activities when requested by foreign nations experiencing trafficking of protected wildlife;

(b) the United States shall promote and encourage the development and enforcement by foreign nations of effective laws to prohibit the illegal taking of, and trade in, these species and to prosecute those who engage in wildlife trafficking, including by building capacity;

(c) in concert with the international community and partner organizations, the United States shall seek to combat wildlife trafficking; and

(d) the United States shall seek to reduce the demand for illegally traded wildlife, both at home and abroad, while allowing legal and legitimate commerce involving wildlife.

Sec. 2. Establishment. There is established a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking (Task Force), to be co-chaired by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General (Co-Chairs), or their designees, who shall report to the President through the National Security Advisor. The Task Force shall develop and implement a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking in accordance with the objectives outlined in section 1 of this order, consistent with section 4 of this order.

Sec. 3. Membership. (a) In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Task Force shall include designated senior-level representatives from:

(i) the Department of the Treasury;

(ii) the Department of Defense;

(iii) the Department of Agriculture;

(iv) the Department of Commerce;

(v) the Department of Transportation;

(vi) the Department of Homeland Security;

(vii) the United States Agency for International Development;

(viii) the Office of the Director of National Intelligence;

(ix) the National Security Staff;

(x) the Domestic Policy Council;

(xi) the Council on Environmental Quality;

(xii) the Office of Science and Technology Policy;

(xiii) the Office of Management and Budget;

(xiv) the Office of the United States Trade Representative; and

(xv) such agencies and offices as the Co-Chairs may, from time to time, designate.

(b) The Task Force shall meet not later than 60 days from the date of this order and periodically thereafter.

Sec. 4. Functions. Consistent with the authorities and responsibilities of member agencies, the Task Force shall perform the following functions:

(a) not later than 180 days after the date of this order, produce a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking that shall include consideration of issues relating to combating trafficking and curbing consumer demand, including:

(i) effective support for anti-poaching activities;

(ii) coordinating regional law enforcement efforts;

(iii) developing and supporting effective legal enforcement mechanisms; and

(iv) developing strategies to reduce illicit trade and reduce consumer demand for trade in protected species;

(b) not later than 90 days from the date of this order, review the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime of July 19, 2011, and, if appropriate, make recommendations regarding the inclusion of crime related to wildlife trafficking as an implementation element for the Federal Government's transnational organized crime strategy;

(c) coordinate efforts among and consult with agencies, as appropriate and consistent with the Department of State's foreign affairs role, regarding work with foreign nations and international bodies that monitor and aid in enforcement against crime related to wildlife trafficking; and

(d) carry out other functions necessary to implement this order.

Sec. 5. Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. Not later than 180 days from the date of this order, the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), in consultation with the other Co-Chairs of the Task Force, shall establish an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking (Advisory Council) that shall make recommendations to the Task Force and provide it with ongoing advice and assistance. The Advisory Council shall have eight members, one of whom shall be designated by the Secretary as the Chair. Members shall not be employees of the Federal Government and shall include knowledgeable individuals from the private sector, former governmental officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and others who are in a position to provide expertise and support to the Task Force.

Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable domestic and international law, and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof, or the status of that department or agency within the Federal Government; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(d) Insofar as the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.) (the "Act"), may apply to the Advisory Council, any functions of the President under the Act, except for that of reporting to the Congress, shall be performed by the Secretary in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Administrator of General Services.

(e) The Department of the Interior shall provide funding and administrative support for the Task Force and Advisory Council to the extent permitted by law and consistent with existing appropriations.