News and Press Releases

United States Attorney’s Office Sponsors 'We Love Wildlife' Campaign as Part of Ongoing Efforts to Protect Endangered Species

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES – United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. today announced the launch of the “We Love Wildlife” campaign – a public education campaign to promote awareness about the international black market for threatened and endangered species and how United States laws are used to protect those species.

Mr. Birotte said the campaign is designed to deter criminal conduct through education and community outreach. Federal prosecutors, including Mr. Birotte, will participate in a series of events beginning Monday, February 11. Each day next week, the United States Attorney’s Office will host a “Lunch and Learn about Wildlife” meeting. For a list of upcoming events, including next week’s brown bag lunches, please see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Events/index.html.

The United States is a large consumer of wildlife products illegally poached and smuggled from other countries. Many American do not know that it is illegal to sell or offer to sell endangered wildlife or wildlife parts in interstate commerce. Other examples of illegal wildlife trafficking include:

selling marine mammal parts, such as whale bones or seal skins (unless the parts will be used for a public display, scientific research or enhancing the survival of a species);

importing or exporting rhino horns without a permit;

offering to sell migratory bird species, such as the Western Scrub Jay; and

failing to declare to the proper authorities any flora or fauna brought into the United States.

Illegal purchases of protected wildlife lead directly to the poaching and decimation of endangered species in the wild.

The prosecution of crimes involving wildlife is an important part of the mission of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, which is one of only two U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the nation to have an Environmental Crimes Section.

In partnership with the United States Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resource Division, as well as federal and state law enforcement agencies, Assistant United States Attorneys based in Los Angeles have successfully prosecuted cases under smuggling statutes, the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act (the first federal law that protected wildlife), the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Bald Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The United States Attorney’s Office has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States in the “We Love Wildlife” campaign to help spread the message and educate the public about wildlife protection statutes through a series of public events.

During the week of February 11, the United States Attorney’s Office will host a series of brown bag lunches to discuss the important work being done to protect and conserve wildlife in the United States and abroad.

During the week of February 15, members of the United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partner agencies will participate in the Cool Cats Program at the San Diego Zoo. The outreach effort will emphasize not buying or selling protected wildlife and their parts.

On Saturday, February 23, federal prosecutors and agents from investigating agencies will be part of the Safari Safety Program at the Los Angeles Zoo, where participants will be able to learn about careers in wildlife protection and enforcement.

On Sunday, February 24, representatives from the United States Attorney’s Office will participate in the African Heritage Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, where they will offer information about efforts to stop global wildlife trafficking, prevent the introduction of invasive species, and protect fish and marine mammals.

The “We Love Wildlife” campaign is being coordinated by the United States Attorney’s Office, in close collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the San Diego Zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo, the California Wild Center, and the Animal Advocates.

All inquiries on the “We Love Wildlife” campaign should be directed to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda M. Bettinelli of the Environmental Crimes Section at (213) 894-0470.

 

Release No. 13-wildlife

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