SENATE RESOLUTION 420--DESIGNATING MARCH 3, 2018, AS ``WORLD WILDLIFE DAY''; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 37
(Senate - March 01, 2018)

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 SENATE RESOLUTION 420--DESIGNATING MARCH 3, 2018, AS ``WORLD WILDLIFE 
                                 DAY''

  Mr. COONS (for himself and Mr. Inhofe) submitted the following 
resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

                              S. Res. 420

       Whereas wildlife has provided numerous economic, 
     environmental, social, and cultural benefits during the 
     course of human history and wildlife conservation will secure 
     those gifts for future generations;
       Whereas plant and animal species play an important role in 
     the stability of diverse ecosystems around the world and the 
     conservation of that biodiversity is critical to maintain the 
     delicate balance of nature and keep complex ecosystems 
     thriving;
       Whereas observation of wild plants and animals in their 
     natural habitat provides individuals with a more enriching 
     worldview and a greater appreciation of the wonders of the 
     natural environment;
       Whereas tens of millions of individuals in the United 
     States strongly support the conservation of wildlife, both 
     domestically and abroad, and wish to ensure the survival of 
     species in the wild, such as rhinoceroses, tigers, elephants, 
     pangolins, turtles, seahorses, sharks, ginseng, mahogany, and 
     cacti;
       Whereas the trafficking of wildlife, including timber and 
     fish, comprises the fourth largest global illegal trade after 
     narcotics, the counterfeiting of products and currency, and 
     human trafficking and has become a major transnational 
     organized crime with an estimated worth of as much as 
     $19,000,000,000 annually;
       Whereas increased demand in Asia for high-value illegal 
     wildlife products, particularly elephant ivory and rhinoceros 
     horns, has triggered substantial and rapid increases in 
     poaching of those species;
       Whereas the trafficking of wildlife is a primary threat to 
     many wildlife species, including elephants, rhinoceroses, 
     tigers, pangolins, and sharks;
       Whereas many different kinds of criminals, including some 
     terrorist entities and rogue security personnel, often in 
     collusion with corrupt government officials, are involved in 
     wildlife poaching and the movement of ivory and rhinoceros 
     horns across Africa;
       Whereas wildlife poaching presents significant security and 
     stability challenges for military and police forces in 
     African nations that are often threatened by heavily armed 
     poachers and the criminal, extremist allies of those 
     poachers;
       Whereas wildlife poaching negatively impacts local 
     communities that rely on natural resources for economic 
     development, including through tourism;
       Whereas penal and financial deterrents can improve the 
     ability of governments to reduce poaching and trafficking and 
     enhance the capabilities of those governments in managing 
     resources;
       Whereas assisting institutions in developing nations, 
     including by providing material, training, legal, and 
     diplomatic support, can reduce illegal wildlife trade;
       Whereas wildlife provides a multitude of benefits to all 
     nations and wildlife crime has wide-ranging economic, 
     environmental, and social impacts;
       Whereas the African Elephant Status Report 2016 issued by 
     the International Union for Conservation of Nature revealed 
     that the elephant population of Africa has recently seen a 
     dramatic decline, mainly due to poaching during the 10 years 
     preceding the issuance of the report, and the continental 
     population is now thought to be 415,428;
       Whereas the estimated African elephant population decreased 
     by approximately 93,000 between 2006 and 2015, despite the 
     inclusion of approximately 18,000 elephants that were 
     previously uncounted, making the actual decline closer to 
     111,000;
       Whereas, from 2007 to 2012, the number of elephants killed 
     in Kenya increased by more than 800 percent, from 47 to 387 
     elephants killed;
       Whereas, between 2002 and 2013, as a result of poaching, 
     about 65 percent of the forest elephant population was killed 
     and that species lost 30 percent of its geographical range;
       Whereas World Wildlife Fund elephant surveys conducted 
     between 2014 and 2016 and covering 6,000,000 hectares 
     confirmed this catastrophic trend, documenting losses of 66 
     percent of the remaining elephants between 2008 and 2016, 
     placing forest elephants on track for extinction in the next 
     decade;
       Whereas fewer than 50,000 wild Asian elephants remain and 
     poaching of these populations is on the rise, with an average 
     of 1 elephant poached every week in Burma, driven by demand 
     for elephant skin products;
       Whereas the number of rhinoceroses killed by poachers in 
     South Africa--
       (1) dramatically increased from 13 in 2007 to 1,215 in 
     2014, an increase of more than 9,000 percent; and
       (2) was 1,028 in 2017;
       Whereas the 3 species of Asian rhinoceroses also remain 
     under constant threat of poaching, with a greater 1-horned 
     rhinoceros poached in Kaziranga National Park in India as 
     recently as January 2018;
       Whereas pangolins are often referred to as the most 
     trafficked mammal in the world;
       Whereas all 8 pangolin species spanning Africa and Asia are 
     faced with extinction because pangolin scales are sought 
     after in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine and 
     pangolin meat is considered a delicacy;
       Whereas approximately 100,000,000 sharks are killed 
     annually, often targeted solely for their fins, and 
     unsustainable trade is the primary cause of serious 
     population decline in several shark species, including 
     scalloped hammerhead sharks, great hammerhead sharks, and 
     oceanic whitetip sharks;
       Whereas the vaquita porpoise of Mexico, with fewer than 30 
     individual porpoises remaining, is being driven to extinction 
     through bycatch in gillnets set for the totoaba fish, the 
     swim bladder of which feeds a lucrative illegal trade through 
     the United States to Asia;
       Whereas tiger populations have plummeted by 95 percent over 
     the last 100 years and African lion populations have declined 
     by 40 percent over the last 20 years;
       Whereas fewer than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild 
     throughout all of Asia;
       Whereas there are more than 7,000 tigers in farms in China, 
     Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, which continues to stoke demand 
     for illegal tiger products and contributes to 30 percent of 
     illegal trading with respect to that animal;
       Whereas the United States is developing and implementing 
     measures to address the criminal, financial, security, and 
     environmental aspects of wildlife trafficking;
       Whereas Congress has allocated specific resources to combat 
     wildlife trafficking and address the threats posed by 
     poaching and the illegal wildlife trade;
       Whereas Congress recently passed the Eliminate, Neutralize, 
     and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016 (16 U.S.C. 7601 
     et seq.) to strengthen the response of the United States to 
     the global wildlife trafficking crisis;
       Whereas, in December 2013, the United Nations General 
     Assembly proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day to 
     celebrate and raise awareness of the wild fauna and flora 
     around the world;
       Whereas March 3, 2018, represents the fifth annual 
     celebration of World Wildlife Day;
       Whereas, in 2018, the theme of World Wildlife Day is ``Big 
     cats: predators under threat''; and
       Whereas, in 2018, World Wildlife Day commemorations will 
     raise awareness about the plight of big cats and galvanize 
     support for the many global and national actions that are 
     underway to save those iconic species: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) designates March 3, 2018, as ``World Wildlife Day'';
       (2) supports raising awareness of the benefits that 
     wildlife provides to people and the threats facing wildlife 
     around the world;
       (3) supports escalating the fight against wildlife crime, 
     including wildlife trafficking;
       (4) applauds the domestic and international efforts to 
     escalate the fight against wildlife crime;
       (5) commends the efforts of the United States to mobilize 
     the entire Federal Government in a coordinated, efficient, 
     and effective manner for dramatic progress in the fight 
     against wildlife crime; and
       (6) encourages continued cooperation between the United 
     States, international partners, local communities, nonprofit 
     organizations, private industry, and other partner 
     organizations in an effort to conserve and celebrate 
     wildlife, preserving this precious resource for future 
     generations.

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