Merkley, Collins, Buchanan, Titus Announce Bipartisan RAWR Act Included in Must-Pass Legislation

Merkley, Collins, Buchanan, Titus Announce Bipartisan RAWR Act Included in Must-Pass Legislation

Legislation would help save endangered species and cut off lucrative profit source for terrorists

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Dina Titus (D-NV) today announced that the Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act, legislation that would help save endangered animals by combatting wildlife trafficking and poaching, is on track to pass Congress as part of the year-end, must-pass spending bill. Specifically, the RAWR Act would authorize the State Department to offer financial rewards for information that leads to the disruption of wildlife trafficking networks.

The legislation is expected to be passed by Congress and signed by the President before the end of this week as part of a deal to avert a government shutdown.

“When wildlife traffickers, poachers, and profiteers kill magnificent animals like elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, they degrade critical ecosystems and rob the world of a piece of our humanity and shared history on this planet,” said Merkley. “It’s time to use every tool at our disposal to crack down on these destructive international crime networks. I’m grateful to our bipartisan coalition for pushing this legislation forward, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

“Wildlife trafficking is a transnational crime that requires a coordinated and sustained global effort to effectively combat it,” said Collins. “Our bipartisan bill is one step closer to becoming law, building upon efforts to deter this illegal activity by allowing the State Department to offer rewards for information to help stop wildlife traffickers.”

“Wildlife trafficking is a grave and persistent threat to endangered animals across the world,” said Buchanan. “The RAWR Act would provide another tool to crack down on the billions of dollars generated by this illegal industry.”

“Congress is putting the world on notice that international wildlife trafficking will be treated as a serious crime,” said Titus. “This heinous practice decimates endangered species and generates billions of dollars for transnational criminal networks. I am thrilled that we are coming together in a bipartisan fashion to help ensure that elephants, lions, rhinos, and tigers will be protected for generations to come.”

The RAWR Act is supported by a wide range of environmental and animal welfare groups, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Whistleblower Center, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society International, NRDC, African Wildlife Foundation, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Oregon Zoo.