Washington, DC—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) and Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) today introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018, which is endorsed by the Animal Welfare Institute and other leading animal welfare and conservation organizations.
This legislation would strengthen the enforcement powers of federal agencies tasked with fighting poaching and wildlife trafficking. It builds on the bipartisan Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2015 to provide the United States with the tools necessary to fight these global crimes, which are perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations and extremist groups.
Specifically, the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act reclassifies serious wildlife trafficking offenses as violations of federal racketeering and anti-organized-crime statutes, directs the US Fish and Wildlife Service to station law enforcement officials in high-intensity wildlife trafficking areas abroad, encourages whistleblowers to report crimes, and directs funds collected from criminal violations to be put toward wildlife conservation efforts, among other provisions.
“Cracking down on wildlife trafficking and poaching has long been a bipartisan effort, and I applaud Congresswoman Bordallo and Congressman Young for continuing and strengthening that tradition. The slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers, and other imperiled species is a devastating crisis, and demands the strongest enforcement efforts and penalties that our nation can employ,” said AWI president Cathy Liss. “We will work to ensure that Congress takes swift action on this legislation.”
“This bipartisan bill confronts the global black-market trade in illegal wildlife and seafood products driving iconic wildlife to extinction and responsible for countless human rights abuses. Poachers, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations are unyielding in their illicit activities, and Congress must be equally aggressive in tacking these global challenges head on,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo.
“I’m pleased to join my friend, Congresswoman Bordallo, and cosponsor this bill. As an avid sportsman, I have long supported legislation that strengthens our ability to conserve wildlife and stop wildlife traffickers,” said Congressman Don Young. “The provision to strengthen our ability to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in US waters is particularly important. I believe that protecting wildlife requires a unified and strategic approach to put an end to poaching worldwide. I look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Bordallo on this and other efforts to ensure sustainable wildlife populations around the world.”
Animal Welfare Institute, (202)-337-2332 firstname.lastname@example.org