H.R. 2494 includes major anti-trafficking provisions and support for wildlife rangers
Wildlife crimes would be prosecuted under money laundering and racketeering laws, both increasing penalties and acting as a deterrent
Legislation was introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and attracted more than 100 bipartisan co-sponsors
WASHINGTON (November 3, 2015) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauded today’s House passage of H.R. 2494, the Global Anti-Poaching Act, that would bolster wildlife trafficking law enforcement, including strengthening the prosecution of offenders under racketeering and money laundering laws and increasing support for wildlife rangers. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced the bill, which attracted 67 Democratic and 47 Republican co-sponsors.
The following statement was released by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign:
“Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime that threatens some of our most iconic species with extinction. The current penalties need to be enhanced to deter the traffickers and criminal syndicates behind the crimes. There is much more that the U.S. government can do to protect these endangered species. We applaud this bipartisan effort, led by Congressman Royce and Congressman Engel, to make sure poachers and traffickers are held accountable and serve as a greater deterrent to future wrongdoing.
“Wildlife trafficking is also a national security issue. Armed militia groups in Africa, including the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Janjaweed militia, have been reported trafficking wildlife products including elephant ivory to fund their illegal activities. This causes further suffering for so many innocent civilians and has brought forest elephants to the brink of extinction.
“This legislation is a good step toward recognizing the seriousness of illegal wildlife trade as a transnational crime, and ensuring that the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, is able to assist foreign governments that truly want to tackle this crisis. The bill will help to professionalize wildlife enforcement units in key countries, while also helping to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance is targeted where it will truly make a difference.
“The American people have spoken loudly on this issue, based on the hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Congress through the 96 Elephants campaign, that this should be a priority for both political parties.
“I applaud the House of Representatives for moving on this issue and urge the Senate to take swift action on similar legislation.”
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.
96 Elephants (www.96elephants.org) – named for the number of elephants currently gunned down each day by poachers – is a WCS campaign that focuses on: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws; bolstering elephant protection with additional funding; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign brings together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.
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