The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act of 2020 was introduced last week by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Rob Portman (R-OH), to reauthorize and expand the original END Wildlife Trafficking Act passed in 2016. This critical legislation combats wildlife poaching and trafficking by implementing a whole-of-government approach that engages international partners, local communities, NGOs, the private sector, and others to strengthen domestic and global enforcement, reducing the demand for illegally traded wildlife. Reauthorization of the Act is fundamental to the battle against the serious crime of wildlife trafficking – the fourth most lucrative criminal enterprise globally, which threatens not only conservation efforts, but also economic prosperity, security, and human health.
A critical act for combatting illegal wildlife trade
Most significantly, the new Act addresses the illegal online wildlife trade—which is increasingly important to efforts to combat wildlife trafficking globally. IFAW research has found tens of thousands of advertisements and posts across the globe offering live endangered or threatened animals as well as their body parts for sale over the internet. For more than a decade, we have worked in partnership with the public and private sectors to detect and disrupt wildlife cybercrime and advocate for robust laws and effective enforcement operations to serve as a deterrent to online wildlife traffickers. The END Wildlife Trafficking Act reauthorization recognizes the severity of this threat and promotes the creation of strategies to more effectively combat wildlife trafficking online.
Since its original passage, the END Wildlife Trafficking Act has spurred multiple successes, including improving the enforcement of domestic and international ivory trade restrictions, reducing consumer access to illegal wildlife products, increasing awareness of wildlife trafficking, and obtaining a greater commitment from international governments to combat the wildlife trafficking problem. The Act has been particularly crucial to identifying and improving cooperation with countries that are significant sources, transit points or consumers of trafficked wildlife.
The END Wildlife Trafficking Act Reauthorization is critical to addressing the ever-evolving criminal wildlife trade. IFAW calls on the U.S. Senate to act quickly to pass this important legislation, and provide ongoing protection for imperiled wildlife, the communities where traffickers operate, and global security. If you want to lend your voice to this effort, please contact your two U.S. Senators (you can find their contact info here on our ESA page)) and urge them to cosponsor the END Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvements Act.
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