Canada joins international Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking

    OTTAWA, April 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable John Baird, Canada's
Minister of the Environment announced today that Canada is joining the
international Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT). The international
coalition, whose members include the U.S., Australia, India and the United
Kingdom, aims to address the illegal trade of plants and animals.
    "I welcome the opportunity, especially during Canada's National Wildlife
Week, to join an international coalition whose purpose is to enhance the
protection of wildlife throughout the world," stated Minister Baird. "Our
participation in this Coalition further demonstrates our commitment to
enforcing environmental laws. In addition, Budget 2007 allocated of
$22 million in additional funding to strengthen our capacity to enforce
Environmental protection laws and allocated $110 million over the next two
years to for more effective implementation of the Species at Risk Act. This
funding will help ensure our pollution and wildlife protection laws are
    Governments and non-government organizations worldwide have recognized
the critical need to address growing threats to wildlife from poaching and
illegal trade. CAWT focuses political and public attention on the issue and
facilitates action for effective wildlife law enforcement and regional
cooperation. Joining the Coalition also complements Canada's commitment to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) which aims at ensuring that international trade does not
threaten the survival of our most threatened wildlife.
    "We welcome Canada as a partner in this global alliance dedicated to
combating criminal activity - activity that is threatening so many wildlife
species with extinction," asserted Claudia McMurray, the Assistant Secretary
for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the
Department of State in Washington. "We look forward to robust collaboration
that will build on the Coalition's work to halt the loss of biodiversity by
curbing both the supply and demand for wildlife and wildlife products."

    The Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking is an association of
governments, industry and conservation organizations that share the common
goal of working within their spheres of influence to stamp out illegal
wildlife trade. An initiative of the United States of America, CAWT was
founded in 2005 and, with the addition of Canada, has grown to include the
United States, the United Kingdom, India, and Australia. The Coalition also
includes 14 international conservation and industry organizations.

    (Egalement offert en français)

For further information:

For further information: please contact: Eric Richer, Press Secretary,
Office of the Minister of the Environment, (819) 997-1441; Environment Canada,
Media Relations, (819) 934-8008, 1-888-908-8008

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