Wildlife trafficking is a multibillion dollar transnational organized criminal activity and a critical conservation issue. The United States is a leader in the fight against the illicit trade in wildlife and INL plays an important role in the development and implementation of anti-wildlife trafficking policies around the world.

Nearly half of the world’s freshwater turtles and tortoises are at risk of extinction. Tortoises and freshwater turtles are also some of the most heavily trafficked victims of the global exotic pet trade, as well as the trade in meat, shell pieces and other parts and products. Turtles are slow to reach maturity and few of their offspring survive to reproduce, so when they are illegally taken from the wild, it can have devastating consequences on the population for years to come.

Phetsamon Souphanya (aka Phet), Resident Agent in Charge of the Southern District of the Northeast Region (DE, MD, VA, WV), who has been a Special Agent with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) since 2008, will present on International and Domestic wildlife Trafficking Investigations, Federal wildlife laws, Federal Wildlife Import/ Export regulations.

Prior to being a FWS Special Agent, he was a FWS Wildlife Inspector in 2004 at the Ports of Valley Stream, NY and San Francisco, CA. Prior to USFWS; a Customs and Border Protection Officer at the Port of Atlanta, GA; a USDA APHIS Quarantine Officer at the Port of Atlanta, GA; and a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Hamden, CT. Phet is a graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Criminal Investigator Training Program, the FWS Special Agent Basic School, and the FWS Wildlife Inspector Basic School. Phet has a BSc in Biology from Southern Connecticut State University.

Phet has taught Chilean National Police, National Park Rangers, Biologist, & members of the Chilean Judiciary (Prosecutors & Judges) at the Ashland Lab, Wildlife Crime Scene Investigations at International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Bangkok, TH, and part of the US delegate to CITES SC70 in Sochi, RU and CITES COP 18 in Geneva, CH. Phet has participated as a technical expert in the Counter Wildlife Trafficking country assessments for Cambodia, Thailand & Laos.

Are you fascinated with reptiles and amphibians? The Natural History Society of Maryland’s Herp Club promotes the proper husbandry, conservation, study, and appreciation of reptiles and amphibians. Meet fellow “Herpers”! Amateurs, professionals, and kids of all ages are welcome! Membership to NHSM required. (NHSM membership is $25 for individuals, $35 for families.) Herp Club membership is an additional $5 for individuals and $10 for families annually.
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