Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 2494, the Global Anti-Poaching Act, bipartisan legislation that will help the United States and partner countries counter the terrorist organizations, rebel groups, and international criminal syndicates that are profiting from international wildlife trafficking.  The legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member.
A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, is available HERE.
Chairman Royce said:  “International wildlife trafficking and poaching has become a serious national security threat.  With its high profit margins and minimal risk, illicit wildlife trade has become a blood currency for transnational gangs and criminal syndicates.  As poaching rates explode, some of the world’s most majestic animals – elephants and rhinos – are being slaughtered and their horns and tusks on the black market.  It’s not hyperbole to ask – do we want our children to grow up in a world without elephants and rhinos?
“This legislation has been a collaborative process with other key committees and NGOs and interested organizations, as well as the Administration. I look forward to its quick passage – in the fight against poaching and to save tigers, elephants, and rhinos, time isn’t on our side.”
H.R. 2494:

  • 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 that have “failed demonstrably” in adhering to international agreements on endangered or threatened species (the Secretary of State is authorized to withhold certain assistance from countries that have received this special designation);
  • puts wildlife trafficking in the same category as weapons trafficking and drug trafficking, making it a liable offense for money laundering and racketeering, and requires fines, forfeitures, and restitution received to be transferred to federal conservation and anti-poaching efforts;
  • authorizes the President to provide security assistance to African countries for counter-wildlife-trafficking efforts;
  • expands wildlife enforcement networks to help partner countries strengthen coordination and share information and intelligence on illegal wildlife trafficking on a regional basis;
  • 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.