Wildlife poaching a threat to national security

Story highlights

  • Wildlife poaching and trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry, authors say
  • There is no simple solution to a problem of this scope and complexity, they say

Chris Coons is a Democratic U.S. senator representing Delaware. Jeff Flake is a Republican U.S. senator representing Arizona. The views expressed are their own.

(CNN)When Cecil the lion was killed in July outside Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, the international community reacted with grief and outrage. But while it didn't receive the same level of coverage, that very same week, five elephants were poached in Kenya's Tsavo West National Park for their ivory tusks. These elephants represent just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of iconic wildlife slaughtered every year to fuel the illegal trade in wildlife products.

Today, wildlife poaching and trafficking is a multibillion-doll