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In late March 1999, Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, gave a speech at Yale Law School entitled Environmental Protection Here and Abroad: The View from Justice. In discussing the international aspects of the Justice Department's environmental work, Ms. Schiffer brought up the enormous problem of trade in illegally captured endangered species, citing an article that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in 1997. That article used as its central example the endangered species trade from the island of Madagascar—specifically, the trade in the Radiated Tortoise, an exquisite and now increasingly rare animal. It is hunted by local fishermen for pennies, traded up through various dingy half-way houses for a few dollars, vacuumed into the international criminal trade, and then finally sold to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars.
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