Caught in the Crosshairs

December 23, 2011

A new video narrated by Edward Norton aims to combat the illegal wildlife trade in Iraq and Afghanistan by informing U.S. military personnel about the consequences of buying wildlife products while stationed overseas.

The latest outreach tool in an ongoing initiative supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) Legacy Program, Caught in the Crosshairs: Combating the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Iraq and Afghanistan aims to inform U.S. military personnel about the consequences of buying illegal wildlife products when deployed or stationed overseas. The video is narrated by actor/director and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity Edward Norton.

The DoD program began in 2007 when WCS staff first noticed illegal items for sale on military bases near Kabul, Afghanistan. A subsequent survey of 395 soldiers at Fort Drum in June 2008 revealed that more than 40 percent of those surveyed had purchased or seen someone else in the military purchase products made from wildlife while stationed overseas.

Many of the wildlife products available that end up on bases in Afghanistan and Iraq are from locally or globally threatened or endangered species such as snow leopard, Eurasian wolf, and Asiatic black bear. The purchase and transport of such products violates military regulations, U.S. laws such as the Endangered Species Act, national laws of Afghanistan, and obligations to international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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