“Creative thinking needed to confront this threat to wildlife and national security”

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement regarding the Administration’s release of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.  Today’s announcement follows a letter Chairman Royce recently sent to the co-chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, urging them to produce a “bold” strategy that includes the same law enforcement tools used to combat other transnational organized crime networks.

Chairman Royce said: “Our current approach to fighting global poaching and the illegal trading of wildlife has fallen short.  The Foreign Affairs Committee looks forward to reviewing the National Strategy closely, ensuring it is robust, aggressive and effective.  While this growing problem is a grave threat to wildlife, with some animals facing extinction, it is also a threat to U.S. national security interests.  As long as illegal wildlife trafficking continues, terrorists and rebel groups will have yet another way to fund their deadly objectives.”

Last year, the Administration established the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking. The Task Force was given 180 days to establish a national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking.

Note: Last year, President Obama signed into law legislation originally authored by Rep. Royce, which expands the State Department’s rewards program to target the world’s worst human rights abusers and transnational organized criminals such as wildlife traffickers like Vixay Keosavang.