WASHINGTON — Actress Bo Derek, who keeps Iberian horses and German shepherds at her home in California, is the government's newest advocate for wilder sorts of animals.
At an Earth Day ceremony at the State Department on Friday, Derek was named a special envoy on wildlife trafficking. The department's new Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking is enlisting help from other countries to fight an estimated $10 billion annual black market in wildlife and wildlife parts, second only to trafficking arms and drugs.
"I'm very excited. I think I'll learn as I go exactly what my role will be," Derek said. "We are at a critical time where we're just about to lose control over our wildlife and their habitats.
"But it's not hopeless. And I think that's what appeals to me also."
Derek, best known for the 1979 movie "10," has escorted bachelor Joshua Bolten, the new White House chief of staff, to Washington social affairs. She campaigned for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 and attended both GOP conventions.
In 2002, she published her autobiography, "Riding Lessons: Everything That Matters in Life I Learned from Horses." She also speaks for the National Horse Protection Coalition, fighting slaughterhouses that kill horses for human consumption.