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WCS Applauds Passage of END Wildlife Trafficking Act by U.S. Congress

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WCS Applauds Passage of END Wildlife Trafficking Act by U.S. Congress

Bipartisan bill was led by U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA)

Senate language authorizing prosecutors to use wildlife crime as a predicate offense for money laundering prosecutions agreed to by House

WCS’s Calvelli: “The very survival of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other iconic species is threatened by wildlife trafficking. We need to address this crisis now, before it is too late.”

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2016) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauded the U.S. Congress's passage of the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act today. The House accepted bill language recently amended in the Senate authorizing prosecutors to use wildlife crime as a predicate offense for money laundering prosecutions. The legislation was led by Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in the U.S. Senate and Eliot Engel (D-NY) and  Ed Royce (R-CA) in the House. It would bolster wildlife trafficking law enforcement and increase support for wildlife rangers, encouraging the transfer of military equipment for ranger use. The bill now moves on to the White House for the president’s signature.

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 passed by both Houses of Congress, now on its way to signature by President Obama, 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 Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in the Senate and Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA) in the House. 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."

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.