UPDATE: On Friday, 7 October, President Obama signed the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, an important step in the fight against wildlife crime.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, 21 September, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 2494, sending it to President Obama's desk for his signature, at which point it will become law.
The U.S. Senate has declared enough is enough when it comes to illegal wildlife trade, passing the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act (also known as H.R. 2494).
The bipartisan bill—which has been championed by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ)—was unanimously approved on Thursday night.
“The passage by the Senate of the Coons–Flake bill comes at a time when there is intensified resolve by the global community to stem the scourge of poaching and illicit trafficking of wildlife products,” said Jimmiel Mandima, African Wildlife Foundation’s director of U.S. government relations. “This bill affirms the U.S. government’s commitment to maintain leadership to dissuade wildlife crime and disrupt regional and global transnational organized criminal networks.”
The END Act seeks to protect the remaining populations of species like elephants and rhinos that are currently threatened by poaching. It is designed to foster a collaborative, interagency approach to combating wildlife trafficking and to assist range countries in the implementation of national wildlife anti-trafficking and poaching laws. It will now go to the House for approval.
“I congratulate the Senate for this bold step and hope the House will affirm the same to curtail poaching and trafficking while enhancing safety and improved human well-being for local communities in Africa and the world over,” said Mandima.