Maintain US Protections for Endangered Species

  • by: WWF
  • recipient: U.S. Representatives

The House of Representatives is considering a bill that would eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for species that are not native to the US.

This would seriously undermine the United States' ability to fight wildlife crime and the illegal wildlife trade threatening some of the world's most imperiled species — like tigers, elephants, and rhinos.

Tell your Representative to support the integrity of the ESA and to maintain strong US leadership in the fight to combat wildlife crime and conserve some of the world's most iconic species.

Dear [your U.S. representative]:

Please oppose H.R. 2603, the "SAVES Act", which would remove Endangered Species Act protections for non-native species and seriously undermine the progress the US has made in combating illegal wildlife trafficking and the transnational crime organizations that are driving it.

The poaching and illegal trade of non-native species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that is wiping out wildlife populations and financing threats to America's security around the world.

Recognizing the severity of this crisis, Congress overwhelmingly passed the END Wildlife Trafficking, signed into law just a year ago, and President Trump included combating wildlife trafficking in his Executive Order 13773 on Transnational Organized Crime. H.R. 2603 would undermine both of these policies.

H.R. 2603 Act would remove the authority of US agencies to regulate the import and export of species to ensure that international trade is not a threat to their survival, unless those species are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)—which many are not.

Critically, the bill would strip the authority for US law enforcement agencies to pursue domestic wildlife trafficking cases involving foreign species within US borders, even if those species were listed under CITES. Proponents of H.R. 2603 claim the ESA is unnecessary for foreign species because they are covered by CITES, but this is simply not true: combating illegal trade within the US cannot be done by an international treaty, it must be done under US law, and that law is the Endangered Species Act.

Without the power to pursue violations of the ESA, major wildlife trafficking cases in the US involving dozens of criminal convictions and millions of dollars' worth of seizures likely never would have happened. This includes "Operation Crash", which took down a major US-based rhino horn trafficking ring. In fact, by weakening the ESA, H.R. 2603 could quickly turn the US into one of the world's largest unregulated wildlife markets, making it a magnet for wildlife traffickers and a significant driver of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade globally.

The "SAVES Act" would be a disaster for our efforts to save our planet's wildlife—and would undermine years of congressional leadership in the fight to stop wildlife traffickers and transnational organized crime.

[Your comments]

Please oppose H.R. 2603 and ensure the US continues to lead in the fight against wildlife crime, both at home and abroad.


[Your Name]

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