Washington (November xx, 2015)– In a rare bipartisan vote, the Global Anti-Poaching Act (H.R. 2494) sailed through the House of Representatives today, yet another step forward in the United States’ fight against wildlife trafficking. The bill provides support to park rangers in Africa on the front lines of the poaching epidemic and asserts diplomatic pressure on countries where poaching and wildlife trafficking is most rampant. It authorizes badly needed, much stricter penalties for wildlife trafficking convictions, putting such offenses on par with other serious crimes like weapons and drug trafficking. The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“This legislation cracks down on traffickers smuggling imperiled wildlife and wildlife products into this country and will give park rangers in other nations the tools they need to protect elephants, rhinos, and other wildlife from poaching. Wildlife trafficking is an international crisis and we lose thousands of birds, mammals, reptiles and more around the world every day to this avoidable tragedy. We must do everything we can to make it harder for the illegal wildlife trade to flourish, both abroad and here in the United States. The time has come to close our ports of entry and shut down domestic markets to wildlife trafficking and the Global Anti-Poaching Act takes a huge step to do just that.
“We urge the Senate to follow the House in passing much needed legislation to combat wildlife trafficking, making the world a safer place for all wildlife so that future generations can treasure and protect them.”