Bipartisan Senate legislation gets tough on wildlife crime

GR:  Almost brings a tear to an eye to see Congress doing something good.

“Update:  On October 7, 2016, President Obama signed into law the END Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494).

“Wildlife trafficking fills criminal coffers to the tune of $7-10 billion a year at the expense of our planet’s most magnificent wildlife,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. “President Obama has put organized crime syndicates on notice that the US government will not stand idly by while thousands of elephants, tigers and rhinos become victims to this brutal trade.”

“Update:  On September 21, 2016, the US House of Representatives the House of Representatives unanimously passed the END Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494). The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

“In a continuing demonstration of the U.S. government’s commitment to combating wildlife crime globally, the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494), a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

“The END Wildlife Trafficking Act is the result of several years of dedicated work by congressional offices and conservation organizations. WWF has played a leadership role in those efforts, collaborating closely with champions in Congress and advocating to incorporate several important provisions into the legislation. Among these are measures that will ensure federal agencies continue to use a coordinated, whole-of-government approach as they respond to the global poaching crisis and direct them to work with affected countries to improve their abilities to protect wildlife populations, disrupt wildlife trafficking networks and prosecute wildlife criminals.

“This bill helps ensure a unified approach by the US government as it works with countries and communities around the globe to combat wildlife crime and the challenges it poses to development, security and conservation,” said Ginette Hemley, WWF’s senior vice president of wildlife conservation. “It also smartly elevates wildlife trafficking into a serious crime under US law, upping the penalties and providing law enforcement with greater tools for going after the worst offenders.

“The END Wildlife Trafficking Act also encourages the transfer of surplus equipment and uniforms to rangers and other wildlife law enforcement personnel in developing countries, who are often ill-equipped and under resourced. And the bill gives strong support and endorsement to community-based conservation approaches like the ones WWF has long championed, recognizing that communities are on the front lines of the poaching epidemic and can be among the strongest allies in the fight to address it.”  —Bipartisan Senate legislation gets tough on wildlife crime | Stories | WWF

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