Landmark Wildlife Whistleblower Legislation Introduced in the House

Published on May 08, 2018

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Landmark Wildlife Whistleblower Legislation Introduced in the House

WASHINGTON, D.C. | MAY 8, 2018—Today, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018. This groundbreaking legislation enhances the ability of informants worldwide to use qui tam whistleblowers laws to report wildlife crimes.

To learn more about the bill, visit the Support H.R. 5697 FAQ page.

Rep. Bordallo, in her floor speech introducing the legislation, said: “this bipartisan bill confronts the global black-market trade in illegal wildlife and seafood products driving iconic wildlife to extinction and responsible for countless human rights abuses.” Watch Rep. Bordallo’s speech on the House floor.

The chairman emeritus of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Young, cosponsored the legislation and stated: “As an avid sportsman, I have long supported legislation that strengthens our ability to conserve wildlife and stop wildlife traffickers.”

Read Bordallo and Young’s joint press release here.

The bipartisan bill is endorsed by the National Whistleblower Center, the nation’s top whistleblower advocacy group, and leading wildlife conservation organizations including the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Humane Society Legislative Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Oceana, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Animal Welfare Institute, and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Stephen M. Kohn, stated: “This is the most important piece anti-trafficking legislation of our generation. With its detection, enforcement, and restitution provisions, the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 will be the best tool we have to effectively combat global wildlife crime. It puts powerful and effective tools into the law enforcement arsenal necessary to detect and prosecute these criminals.”

Kohn added, “there are three reasons why this bill is such a powerful piece of legislation. First, it creates strong incentives for whistleblowers around the world to report trafficking crimes. Second, it enhances the laws that can be used to prosecute wildlife traffickers and makes wildlife trafficking a predicate offense under federal racketeering and anti-organized crime statutes, the RICO and Travel Acts. Third, it mandates that all fines and penalties collected from successful prosecutions be used for wildlife conservation efforts worldwide at no costs to the American taxpayers.”

Earlier on May 8th, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that further demonstrates the need for better regulations regarding incentivizing wildlife whistleblowers. Read the GAO report: Combatting Wildlife Trafficking: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Use of Financial Report.

The National Whistleblower Center is mobilizing grassroots support to facilitate the bill’s passage through the House. It has issued an Action Alert: “Urge Your Representatives to Support Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Legislation!”.

Read the bill summary here

Read the full text of the bill here

Take action here.

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