Senators Coons, Flake applaud committee passage of bill to combat wildlife trafficking crisis
Wildlife trafficking is a lucrative criminal activity with an estimated value of $8 to $10 billion annually
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statements after the committee unanimously passed the END Wildlife Trafficking Act to combat the rapidly growing crisis of wildlife trafficking.
“Demand for wildlife products has spiked in recent years, causing illegal wildlife trafficking to grow at an alarming rate,” said Senator Coons. “Wildlife trafficking is not just an environmental challenge, but a multi-billion dollar industry that fuels well-organized criminal networks. It is a growing crisis that demands action now, and I’m pleased this committee came together to pass our legislation that will use an interagency approach to address this problem from all sides. We cannot wait any longer to use every tool at our disposal to curb this global crisis.”
“It’s going to take more than a one-size-fits-all approach to end wildlife trafficking,” said Senator Flake. “This bill will address threats posed by poachers and traffickers on a country-by-country basis, and it will send a message to poachers, traffickers, and to those who create the demand fueling these horrific acts that the United States Congress takes this matter seriously.”
The END Wildlife Trafficking Act supports the ongoing work of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking and directs the Task Force to coordinate relevant agencies and U.S. missions in working with countries experiencing wildlife crime to develop strategic plans with recommendations for how each country can combat threats to wildlife.
The END Wildlife Trafficking Act would:
- Require an interagency approach in working with the governments of countries affected by wildlife poaching and trafficking on an analysis of the threats each country faces, and recommendations on how to address these threats, including coordination with non-governmental organizations;
- Authorize the Secretary of State, the USAID Administrator, and other relevant agency heads to engage in efforts to address poaching and wildlife trafficking problems, including encouraging community conservation programs;
- Include strategic reviews to monitor progress made on stemming the tide of wildlife trafficking in countries with significant poaching, trafficking, or demand for illegal wildlife products; and,
- Require annual reporting on how all taxpayer dollars appropriated to fight wildlife trafficking are being spent, to include the costs of the administration of the Task Force.
Sean Coit at 202-224-5042 or Sean_Coit@coons.senate.gov
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