WASHINGTON (September 16, 2016) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauded the Senate’s passage of the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act. The legislation is led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and would bolster wildlife trafficking law enforcement and increase support for wildlife rangers, including the transfer of military equipment for ranger use. The bill will now return to the House for final passage.

The following statement was released by John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign:

“The very survival of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other iconic species is threatened by wildlife trafficking. Poaching and trafficking operations are growing in scale and sophistication, with much of the billions of dollars generated financing extremist groups and criminal syndicates. We need to address this crisis now, before it is too late.

“WCS is pleased to support this bipartisan legislation and views it as a good step toward stopping the illegal wildlife trade. Importantly, this bill represents progress on the strengthening of U.S. laws to target wildlife traffickers, including the authority to use wildlife crime as a predicate offense for money laundering prosecutions.

“The U.S. can play an important role in stopping this serious transnational crime, and we applaud this bipartisan effort, led by Senators Coons and Flake. It can ensure that the U.S. government is able to assist foreign governments that truly want to tackle this crisis. The bill will also help to better equip wildlife enforcement units in key countries, while helping to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance is targeted where it will truly make a difference. 

“The American people have spoken loudly on this issue: stopping wildlife trafficking is a bipartisan issue. Hundreds of thousands of people, through the 96 Elephants campaign, have told their elected officials that stopping wildlife trafficking should be a priority for both political parties.”