You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Wildlife trafficking campaign launches at Hartsfield-Jackson


With wildlife trafficking growing into one of the world’s largest illegal trades, the federal government is partnering with a nonprofit and Hollywood celebrities to increase awareness among consumers who might unwittingly bring prohibited items into the United States.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nonprofit WildAid and actor Michael Cudlitz of The Walking Dead this week announced a national campaign against wildlife trafficking, which they say is an industry worth $10 billion to $20 billion annually.

“I want to live in a world where there’s still elephants and rhinoceroses,” Cudlitz said, calling ivory poaching “brutal.”

The wildlife service inspected more than 180,000 wildlife-related shipments into the United States in 2015, according to officials at a news conference at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The world’s busiest airport is one of the largest ports for wildlife products and hunting and fishing trophies, said Luis Santiago, special agent-in-charge in the law enforcement office for the agency’s Southeast region.

But, Santiago said, “We cannot simply arrest our way out of this.”

“It’s equally vital to tackle the consumer demand” by persuading consumers not to purchase wildlife products that may be illegal, he said. “If demand exists, someone will try to supply it.”

Among the many items to avoid buying and bringing back to the United States are ivory jewelry, carvings or figurines; tortoiseshell jewelry or curios; sea turtle shells or leather items; tiger, jaguar and leopard fur.

The trade “is often run by dangerous criminal syndicates,” said the airport’s general manager, Roosevelt Council.

Wildlife trafficking is seen as lucrative and lower risk than other illicit trades such as drugs, arms and human trafficking, according to Santiago. He said the growing scale of wildlife trafficking has had a “devastating effect” on wildlife.

One focus of the campaign is the elephant ivory trade, which organizers say has caused the savanna elephant population to drop by nearly one-third between 2007 and 2014 in 15 nations. Rhinos, tigers, lions and sea turtle populations are also in decline due to poaching, they say.

Cudlitz is one of WildAid’s “celebrity ambassadors.” They also include his Walking Dead co-star Danai Gurira and other actors. The nonprofit uses billboards and public service announcements in its campaigns.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

UPS to add more alternative fuel vehicles to fleet
UPS to add more alternative fuel vehicles to fleet

Sandy Springs-based UPS said it plans to add more alternative fuel vehicles to its fleet. The move comes as e-commerce growth drives up the shipping giant’s use of fuel. UPS, which operates 8,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, said its goal by 2020 is for such vehicles to make up one in four of its newly-purchased vehicles...
Big grocery chain 'looking for sites all across’ Georgia
Big grocery chain 'looking for sites all across’ Georgia

Grocery chain Lidl has announced plans to open a distribution center in Cartersville and create 250 jobs, suggesting that opening its first stores in Georgia are coming. That means fresh competition for shoppers loyal to chains such as Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, Ingles and Aldi. “Georgia is absolutely a focus for us,” company...
The questions all landlords should ask

The vast majority of rental problems can be eliminated in advance through a good screening process. Many amateur landlords are so desperate for a tenant that they accept the first applicant who walks in the door. That is a rental nightmare waiting to happen. When screening any applicant, remember to be consistent - treat all potential renters the same...
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks
New Atlanta Fed president sees lighter burden for small banks

Banks — especially the smaller ones — can probably expect a lighter touch from regulators in the future, but not in areas that would weaken protections against another industry meltdown, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s new president. Earlier this month the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a nearly 150-page report...
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight
Couple gets engaged on Delta flight

A Delta Air Lines plane at 30,000 feet became the scene for a carefully-orchestrated engagement this week. Flights were already part of the couple’s long-distance relationship stretched between Atlanta and Pennsylvania — Deepum Patel works in Atlanta while girlfriend Neha Chakravarti has been in dental school in Pennsylvania. During a Wednesday...
More Stories