U.S. House Committee Passes Anti-Poaching Act

U.S. House Committee Passes Anti-Poaching Act

U.S. House Committee Passes Anti-Poaching Act

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On Thursday, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the Global Anti-Poaching Act to go before the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. 

Introduced by U.S. Rep Ed Royce, chairman of the Committee, and U.S. Rep Eliot Engel, the committee's ranking member, the bipartisan legislation focuses specifically on enabling the U.S. government to work with partner countries in countering international criminal syndicates, rebel groups and terrorist organizations profiting from the illegal wildlife trade. The government increasingly views elements involved in the trade as a threat to national and regional security, particularly for U.S. allies in Africa. 

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), alongside other conservation groups, wrote a letter of support to both congressmen, thanking them for their focus on the wildlife trade and acknowledging that the new Act, if passed, would strengthen U.S. efforts to combat willdife trafficking as outlined under the government's new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

Specifically, the Global Anti-Poaching Act would:

  • Require the U.S. Secretary of State to identify those countries determined to be major source, transit, or consumer countries of wildlife trafficking products and designate them as having failed to address poaching and/or wildlife trafficking, thus giving the State Department the necessary authorization to withhold assistance to these countries; 

  • Elevate the crime of wildlife trafficking to a predicate offense, in the same category as weapons and drug trafficking;

  • Authorize the President to provide assistance to African countries combating wildlife trafficking;

  • Expand regional law enforcement networks around wildife crime, called Wildlife Enforcement Networks, to help countries in Africa strengthen their coordination and intelligence-sharing around efforts to combat wildlife trafficking;

  • Strengthen the professionalization of law enforcement and wildlife rangers in partner countries fighting poachers and wildlife traffickers, and provide them with the equipment needed to give them an edge in the fight.

Learn more about the Global Anti-Poaching Act.