Wildlife trafficking is the fourth most lucrative crime in the world, and the US alone has held the distinction of being second only to China in perpetuating the market for ivory. In February of this year President Obama banned the commercial use of ivory. He set forth a national strategy of increasing cooperation among a half-dozen federal agencies, toughening laws and enhancing enforcement.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been charged with cracking down on the trade, responding through undercover efforts like Operation Crash, in which officers tackle all aspects of U.S. involvement in the black market rhino horn trade.
But the largest issue is in the ports. Fewer than 330 Fish and Wildlife inspectors patrol the largest U.S. ports, about the same number as 30 years ago, when the agency's law enforcement branch was formed, before wildlife trafficking was as problematic.