DoD Legacy Work

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 extended DoD authorities to support efforts countering transnational organized crime, including illegal trade in endangered wildlife products. WCS partnered with the Department of Defense Legacy Natural Resources Program to provide training to educate military personnel on 1) laws governing wildlife trafficking, 2) the consequences of violating the laws, 3) the linkages between wildlife trafficking and organized crime, and 4) the resources to communicate about illegal wildlife trafficking in nation-to-nation engagement. This information promotes responsible behavior among military personnel representing the United States abroad and ensures local law enforcement with whom the U.S. military engages are adequately prepared to tackle issues important to their respective countries.


WCS has created Training Videos, Fact Sheets, Officer Training Sheets, Smart or Pocket Cards, Presentations and even a filled in Form 4856, the Development Counseling Form for training purposes.


Wildlife trafficking poses one of the greatest threats to wildlife, leading to local, regional and global extinctions, and profits from this illegal activity have been implicated in supporting organized crime and transnational trafficking of illicit items. Many newly enlisted military personnel are not aware of the illegal nature of some readily available wildlife items found in local markets and on U.S. bases overseas or the connections between wildlife trafficking and organized crime. As a result, they might inadvertently purchase and transport illegal products or they might miss opportunities to identify illegal activity in the field that could be related to the trafficking of other items such as drugs and ammunition and may be supporting organized crime.


WCS has trained over 20,000 deploying troops and made numerous training materials available for military personnel deploying overseas. These materials are available online or by contacting


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Heidi Kretser, Ph.D.
Wildlife Conservation Society 7 Brandy Brook Ave Saranac Lake, NY 12983 USA
518 891-8872 ext 105

Partners include

Department of Defense Legacy Tracker

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Address: 2300 Southern Boulevard Bronx, New York 10460 | (718) 220-5100