The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is taking the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance under its wing to better fight the worldwide wildlife trafficking epidemic.
The US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA), a coalition of nonprofits and others that works with the US government to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking, will become a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
USWTA executive director, Sara Walker, will join the AZA as the organisation’s senior advisor on wildlife trafficking, continuing to lead the USWTA program.
“I’m thrilled to join the dedicated team of conservation professionals at AZA,” said Walker. “I look forward to integrating USWTA into the broader mission of AZA’s efforts to protect wild animal populations around the world. Together, we will create a powerful coalition to reduce – and eventually end – the scourge of wildlife trafficking.”
Wildlife trafficking has become a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry, which now ranks as the fourth-largest transnational crime.
AZA was a founding member of the USWTA in 2015. Since then, the USWTA has assembled a coalition of corporate and nonprofit member organisations all working together to raise awareness about the impact that wildlife trafficking has on wild animals.
Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA, said: “Wildlife trafficking is a global epidemic, and is driving some of the world’s most beloved animals to the brink of extinction.
“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are world leaders in saving animals from extinction, and this strategic alignment with travel, media, and consumer products business leaders, as well as conservation NGOs, will create and sustain powerful momentum.”
AZA is a nonprofit founded in 1924 dedicated to the advancement of North American zoos and public aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science and recreation.