Recently, the Maine Warden Service assisted the U.S. Department of State in hosting a group of international game wardens participating in the Multi-Regional International Visitor Leadership program titled Wildlife Conservation: Anti-Trafficking.

Goals for the project included assessing:

* U.S. efforts to deter poaching and trafficking of wildlife resources through wildlife protection.

* Law enforcement and criminal prosecution.

* Discussion of international collaboration at the federal and state levels to combat wildlife poaching and strengthen global cooperation against wildlife trafficking.

* Exploring non-governmental organizations, citizens, activists and private organizations that promote and support wildlife protection and discourage consumer demand.

* Examining the harmful impact of international wildlife trafficking on political, economic, environmental and social stability.

The three-week program included destinations to Washington, D.C., Maine, Florida, California and Washington state. There were a total of 11 participants from Gambia, Ethiopia, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Nepal, Oman, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The group was given a tour of the State House and shown how legislation specific to fish and wildlife poaching is enacted. They were also given an overview of Maine Operation Game Thief, shown demonstrations by several of the Maine Warden Service specialty teams, given overviews of several large wildlife trafficking cases conducted by the Warden Service in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and provided with information on the hit TV show “North Woods Law” on Animal Planet.

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