Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) END Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494), which now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.  The bipartisan legislation helps the United States and partner countries combat today’s unprecedented level of poaching and wildlife trafficking.

A section by section summary of the legislation, as passed by the House and Senate, is available HERE.

“Wildlife trafficking is a growing global crisis that is devastating precious wildlife, fueling corruption and weakening governments,” said Chairman Royce.  “The black market created by poaching and wildlife trafficking is generating revenues estimated at $10 billion a year.  Criminals, rebels and even terrorists are taking advantage of this illicit trade to fund their deadly operations.  Cracking down on poaching and wildlife trafficking will not only help protect some of the world’s most majestic animals, it will strengthen U.S. national security.

“With more elephants dying than being born, time is not on our side. We need an aggressive response to confront this challenge.  We can’t afford to let gangs and terrorists continue to slaughter some of the world’s most iconic species.  I urge the Obama administration to quickly implement this bill.”

Additionally, the legislation:

  • requires the Secretary of State to identify the foreign countries determined to be a major source, transit point, or consumer of wildlife trafficking products and make a special designation for those countries whose government has actively engaged in or profited from wildlife trafficking as a “country of particular concern;”
  • puts wildlife trafficking in the same category as weapons trafficking and drug trafficking, making it a liable offense for money laundering;
  • presses the Administration to continue to provide security assistance to African countries for counter-wildlife-trafficking efforts;
  • supports wildlife enforcement networks to help partner countries strengthen coordination and share information and intelligence on illegal wildlife trafficking on a regional basis; and
  • supports increased professionalization of partner countries’ wildlife law enforcement rangers on the front lines of the fight against poachers, who are often armed with night-vision goggles, heavy weaponry, and even helicopters.