By Aaron Martin
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) recently said the committee would review a new strategy to combat wildlife trafficking to ensure a “bold” strategy is implemented that uses law enforcement and conservation tools.
The Obama administration established the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking last year to establish a national strategy to combat wildlife trafficking, which was recently released.
“Our current approach to fighting global poaching and the illegal trading of wildlife has fallen short,” Royce said. “The Foreign Affairs Committee looks forward to reviewing the national strategy closely, ensuring it is robust, aggressive and effective. While this growing problem is a grave threat to wildlife, with some animals facing extinction, it is also a threat to U.S. national security interests. As long as illegal wildlife trafficking continues, terrorists and rebel groups will have yet another way to fund their deadly objectives.”
In December, Royce joined Reps. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) in a letter urging that the new national strategy implement “ambitious” measures that address the criminal, financial and security aspects of wildlife trafficking.
President Obama signed legislation authored by Royce into law last year. It enhanced the State Department’s rewards program to target human rights abusers and transnational organized criminals, including wildlife traffickers.