Who We Are
The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA) is a coalition of more than 70 leading companies, non-profit organizations, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums working together to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife and wildlife products. WTA works with a variety of partners whose active engagement is essential to the success of the WTA goals.
In 2018, WTA joined forces with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a united effort to fight the global epidemic of wildlife trafficking. As a program of AZA, WTA continues to leverage a variety of industry sectors and AZA-accredited facilities, including their coordinated effort through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program.
What We Do
- Raise the public’s awareness of the scope of the wildlife trafficking crisis;
- Effect behavior change in order to reduce consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products; and
- Mobilize companies to adopt best practices to assure that their goods and services are not being utilized by illegal wildlife traffickers, and to assist in raising public awareness and reducing demand.
Following the President’s Executive Order on Wildlife Trafficking, the White House released the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, which called for a collaborative effort with foreign governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to reduce supply and demand for illegal wildlife products. On July 31, 2015, the formation of the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance was announced to coordinate the “whole of civil society” approach to combat the scourge of wildlife trafficking.
Congress also supported this effort through its bipartisan passage of the Eliminate, Neutralize and Disrupt (“END”) Wildlife Trafficking Act in October 2016. The Act continues the work of the National Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking and requires ongoing reports of progress made under the National Strategy and its Implementation Plan.
Sara Walker is the Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Prior to joining AZA, Sara was the Executive Director of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA), until a merger was announced in 2018 that AZA and WTA would be joining forces to combat wildlife trafficking. As the Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking, Sara will continue to lead the efforts of the WTA and also work closely with AZA members on wildlife trafficking issues.
Prior to leading the WTA, Sara was the Director of Wildlife at The Humane Society of the United States, leading two national campaigns that focused on fur-free fashion and lead-free initiatives. Under her leadership, the fur-free campaign educated the luxury fashion industry about cruelty-free alternatives and exposed rampant false labeling of “faux” products; and the lead-free campaign raised awareness about lead-based ammunition and sought state and federal policies to adopt stricter environmental standards for hunting and fishing equipment.
From 2010-2014, Sara was responsible for a variety of domestic and international energy and climate initiatives at the United Nations Foundation, serving most recently as the Associate Director of Global Outreach on a global climate science communications project around the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report. In these roles, Sara led outreach activities across a broad range of global and domestic stakeholders; and developed comprehensive policy and campaign strategies that sought to change public opinion and influence policymakers.
Sara also has extensive experience working on environmental and natural resource policy at the state legislative level, in addition to state political campaign management experience. An Oregon native, Sara earned her MA in International Relations from the University of San Diego and her BA in International Studies from the University of Oregon. She also holds an AA in Flight Technology and is a certified commercial pilot.