Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 114-231 (10/07/2016)

Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016

This bill addresses wildlife trafficking, which is the poaching or other illegal taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products.

TITLE I--PURPOSES AND POLICY

(Sec. 102) The bill states that it is the policy of the United States to:

  • take immediate actions to stop the illegal global trade in wildlife and wildlife products and associated transnational organized crime;
  • employ appropriate assets and resources for curtailing poaching and disrupting and dismantling illegal wildlife trade networks and the financing of those networks in each foreign country that is a major source or major transit point of wildlife trafficking products or their derivatives, or a major consumer of wildlife trafficking products (focus country);
  • provide assistance in helping focus countries in halting the poaching of imperiled species and ending the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products;
  • build upon the "National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking" published on February 11, 2014, or a successor strategy, to further combat wildlife trafficking; and
  • recognize the ties of wildlife trafficking to broader forms of transnational organized criminal activities, and where applicable, to focus on those crimes.

TITLE II--REPORT ON MAJOR WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING COUNTRIES

(Sec. 201) The Department of State must submit an annual report for five years after this bill's enactment that: (1) lists each focus country as determined by the State Department; and (2) identifies each country of concern, which is a focus country with a government that has actively engaged in or knowingly profited from the trafficking of endangered or threatened species.

TITLE III--FRAMEWORK FOR INTERAGENCY RESPONSE

(Sec. 301) The bill establishes coordination and collaboration requirements for the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking.

Each year the task force must submit a strategic assessment of its work and provide a briefing to appropriate congressional committees.

The bill terminates the task force five years after enactment of this bill, unless the President terminates it on an earlier date.

TITLE IV--PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS THE ESCALATING WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING CRISIS

(Sec. 401) The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) may provide assistance to focus countries for improving the effectiveness of wildlife law enforcement in regions and countries that have demonstrated capacity, willingness, and need for assistance.

The bill urges the United States to continue providing defense articles (not including significant military equipment), defense services, and related training to appropriate security forces of African countries for countering wildlife trafficking and poaching.

(Sec. 402) The State Department and USAID may design and implement programs in focus countries for: (1) increasing the capacity of wildlife law enforcement and customs and border security officers in the countries, or (2) combating the transnational trade in illegal wildlife.

(Sec. 403) Each chief of mission to a focus country should begin to implement the recommendations on wildlife trafficking contained in the task force's strategic plan within two years of this bill's enactment. (A chief of mission is the principal officer in charge of a U.S. diplomatic mission or of a U.S. office abroad which is diplomatic in nature. The chief of mission is often, but not always, an ambassador.)

(Sec. 404) The State Department may also provide support in focus countries to carry out the recommendations on wildlife trafficking contained in the task force's strategic plan related to the development, scaling, and replication of community wildlife conservancies and community conservation programs in those countries to: (1) assist with rural stability and security for people and wildlife, (2) empower and support communities in managing or benefiting from their wildlife resources in a long-term biologically viable manner, and (3) reduce the threat of poaching and trafficking.

TITLE V--OTHER ACTIONS RELATING TO WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING PROGRAMS

(Sec. 501) The State Department is included in the certification process under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967. (The Pelly Amendment authorizes the President to embargo wildlife products when the Department of Commerce or the Department of the Interior certifies that nationals of a foreign country are engaging in trade or certain actions that diminish the effectiveness of an international agreement for the conservation of endangered or threatened species.) Commerce and Interior shall each report each certification to the President within 15 days after it is made.

(Sec. 502) The bill applies provisions of the federal criminal code concerning money laundering to wildlife trafficking violations of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the African Elephant Conservation Act, and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994, if the endangered or threatened species of fish or wildlife, products, items, or substances involved in the violation and relevant conduct have a total value of more than $10,000.