Initiated in 2005, the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT) is a voluntary partnership among governments and non-governmental entities that seeks to raise the political profile of international wildlife crime. CAWT maintains three goals:
- improve wildlife law enforcement by expanding training, information sharing, and strengthening regional cooperative networks;
- reduce consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife by raising awareness of its consequences; and,
- broaden support for combating wildlife trafficking at the highest political levels.
As the sole founder of this initiative, the United States served as the chair until July, 2009 when the United Kingdom assumed that role.
Since its inception, CAWT has been active in holding several international training courses about wildlife law enforcement and related topics and conducting awareness activities. Although some observers welcome this relatively new initiative to help raise the profile of wildlife trafficking issues, others perceive that some countries may be hesitant to commit financially to CAWT. As one expert explained in congressional testimony in 2007, CAWT has suffered from a “slow response from other foreign governments.”
Currently, there are six nations involved in CAWT:
- United Kingdom
- United States
There are twelve non-governmental entities involved in CAWT:
- American Forest and Paper Association
- Cheetah Conservation Fund
- Conservation International
- Humane Society International
- International Fund for Animal Welfare
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Save the Tiger Fund
- Smithsonian Institution
- Wildlife Alliance
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- World Wildlife Fund
Some observers question whether CAWT has been able to define and differentiate its role among U.S. agencies that have responsibilities to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
- Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking website, accessed October 5, 2009
- Testimony Crawford Allan, World Wildlife Fund, in U.S. Congress, House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans, Endangered Species Treaty Meeting, hearing, 109th Cong., 2nd sess., May 3, 2007.
- International efforts to combat wildlife crime
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network
Disclaimer: This article is taken wholly from, or contains information that was originally published by, the Congressional Research Service. Topic editors and authors for the Encyclopedia of Earth may have edited its content or added new information. The use of information from the Congressional Research Service should not be construed as support for or endorsement by that organization for any new information added by EoE personnel, or for any editing of the original content.
Note: The first version of this article was drawn from RL34395 International Illegal Trade in Wildlife: Threats and U.S. Policy by Liana Sun Wyler and Pervaze A. Sheikh, Congressional Research Service on February 2, 2009.