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Sequestration is boom time for elephant poachers

Almost daily, it seems, there are new and credible reports about the senseless slaughter of elephants, rhinos or other endangered species by sophisticated wildlife-trafficking networks. Just this spring, news filtered in about a slaughter of forest elephants in the Central African Republic. We have video confirmation of nearly 30 elephants being killed and more wounded. It is clear that poaching is epidemic and is threatening some of the world’s most iconic and endearing species.

Although foreign species may seem like other nations' problem, nothing could be further from the truth. The native species and ecosystems of our planet support billions of people and drive the world's economy. Everyone has a stake in sustaining these fragile ecosystems and species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plays an essential role in combating global wildlife trafficking. Since the federal budget sequestration took effect in March, however, our ability to carry out this mission has been diminished, just as the situation for endangered species around the globe has become increasingly critical.

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