President Obama Signs Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Legislation into Law
Posted by Enough Team on Oct 13, 2016


Note: Enough Project Intern Anuli Mefor contributed to this blog post.

H.R. 2494, The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking
Act of 2016, has officially become law. Stamped with President Obama’s
signature on October 7, 2016, this law will protect elephants, rhinos
and other endangered species from a sophisticated international
poaching and trafficking trade that is decimating animal populations
worldwide and funding armed groups. The Enough Project is grateful for
the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of  Representatives Ed Royce
(R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Senators  Chris Coons (D-DE) and
Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who championed  the bill in the House and Senate.
This law is a product of their continued dedication over the course of
many years, President Obama’s leadership in the fight against the
global ivory trade, and partnerships with various external advocacy
groups. Oscar winning director, Kathryn Bigelow through her Last Days
of Ivory video and event on Capitol Hill galvanized public support and
helped illustrate the nexus between elephant poaching and human
security.

In a press release, Senator Coons noted: “Passage of this legislation
is a critical step forward in tackling the rapidly growing crisis of
wildlife trafficking as demand for wildlife products has spiked in
recent years,” said Coons. “Recent news about the African elephant
population shrinking by 30% since 2007 largely due to poaching showed
just how urgent this crisis has become. Not only are iconic wildlife
species in grave danger of disappearing, but wildlife trafficking also
fuels well-organized criminal networks, threatening global security.”

As noted in an Enough Project report, Tusk Wars, rebel groups and
terrorist organizations such as Sudan’s Janjaweed militia, the Lord’s
Resistance Army (LRA), and the Séléka rebel movement in the Central
African Republic, are all connected to wildlife trafficking networks.
These groups are notorious for committing human rights violations
including murder, rape, large-scale massacres, and the pillaging of
various natural resources. The atrocities they commit contribute to
the instability of a turbulent region and the spread of conflict
across borders.

It is imperative to creatively utilize tools at the disposal of the
United States to address the human toll of such illicit networks. This
law creates real consequences on atrocity perpetrators sustaining
themselves through wildlife trafficking by making making certain kinds
of wildlife trafficking a predicate offense under money laundering
statutes and supporting the professionalization of partner countries’
wildlife law enforcement personnel and park rangers.

The Enough Project thanks all who lobbied for this legislation on
Capitol Hill during the Lemkin Summit and the thousands who joined
various campaigns and emailed their Members of Congress to support the
bill.

Read more from the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the
Legislation’s Passage through Congress >

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