Ilegal wildlife trafficking is one of the most lucrative global crimes, generating an annual $8-10 billion. Frankly, it’s a huge problem not only for charismatic species like rhinos, elephants and tigers; but also, poses a national security threat to the United States.
Highly organized and sophisticated crime networks like Al-Shabaab, and the Lord’s Resistance Army are taking advantage of this lucrative business, to fund human, drugs and arms trafficking along with terrorist activities around the globe. Although the United States is the 2nd largest consumer of illegal wildlife products, we have seen significant progress to address the problem.
On January 8th, 2015, Senator Lindsey Graham (R- SC) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) introduced a new bill to Congress, called the Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act to improve law enforcement capacities, tools and penalties to crack down on poachers and traffickers. This is a big step forward to protect majestic animals that face these continuous threats.
Over the course 2014, the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition has advised Senator Graham, high-ranking officials of US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking on this piece of legislation. We are very pleased and delighted to hear that the Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act has come into fruition and has addressed our concerns. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration in 2015 to ensure that we can stop these poachers in their tracks.