Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


What is wildlife trafficking?

Wildlife trafficking -- the illegal trade of animal products -- is pushing numerous species to extinction around the world. This multi-billion dollar international black market involves indigenous species from many nations, including the United States.

In response, President Obama created a task force to develop a strategy to combat wildlife trafficking. The resulting United States Strategy and Implementation for Combating Wildlife Trafficking identified three primary strategies: strengthening domestic and global law enforcement, reducing demand for wildlife products, and building international cooperation.

Links to the federal strategy and implementation plan are available at http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ecw/wlt/.

In support of these strategies, Washington joined several other states in passing laws to protect certain endangered species and strengthen penalties for traffickers that trade them.

Introduced as Initiative 1401 -- and overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2015 -- the Washington Animal Trafficking Act (WATA) expands state authority to regulate illicit markets on a local level and provides penalties for noncompliance. WATA provides Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police with the authority to protect certain subspecies of 10 of the world's most illegally traded endangered species:

- Elephants
- Rhinoceros
- Tigers
- Lions
- Leopards
- Cheetahs
- Pangolins
- Marine turtles
- Sharks
- Rays

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Last Updated
9th of December, 2016