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US Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act

Policy Details

Policy Type: Policy
Jurisdiction: Federal
Status: Passed
Tags: Climate Adaptation & Resilience, Conservation & Biodiversity

Policy Summary

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act (H.R.864) is the most powerful wildlife anti-trafficking bill of our generation. It would strengthen wildlife crime detection, enhance enforcement mechanisms, and increase wildlife conservation funding – at no cost to taxpayers.

Specifically, it reclassifies certain wildlife-trafficking offenses and illegal fishing violations as violations of federal racketeering or other laws concerning transnational criminal organizations. The bill would strengthen the enforcement powers of federal agencies to combat wildlife trafficking (e.g., poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife).

The bill sets forth requirements to provide awards to whistle-blowers for reporting violations of wildlife-trafficking laws.

In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service must carry out the International Wildlife Conservation Program to:

  • implement global habitat and conservation initiatives;
  • address global conservation threats;
  • combat wildlife trafficking, poaching, and trade in illegal wildlife products; and
  • carry out international wildlife conservation and habitat activities authorized by federal law.

Revenue generated from fines, penalties, or forfeitures of property or assets for certain wildlife and fishing violations may be used for various animal conservation funds.


Does the policy solution re-distribute power from mainstream institutions to impacted Black community?   

The act’s emphasis on conservation helps protect natural resources, which are crucial for the well-being of all communities, including Black communities. Ensuring clean air, water, and green spaces contributes to better health and quality of life. Furthermore, protected ecosystems increase overall climate resilience.

Does this policy address needs impacting diverse groups within Black communities (Black femmes, Black LGBTQ+ communities, Black immigrants, people in poverty, differently abled, people impacted by justice system)? If so, how?  

Targeted programs for youth can inspire a new generation of Black environmentalists and conservationists. Engaging young people in wildlife conservation can foster a sense of stewardship and connection to nature.

Does this policy provide more decision-making power at the hands of Black communities?  

Black communities suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation and pollution. Conservation efforts can mitigate these effects by preserving and restoring natural environments which could indirectly improve health and quality of life for Black Americans, enhancing their decision-making powers. The act also increases environmental knowledge by supporting educational programs that raise awareness about wildlife conservation and the importance of biodiversity. These programs can empower Black Americans with information and skills to participate actively in conservation efforts.

Does the policy undermine extractive economies like capitalism and restore community power around a local and regenerative economy/ primary production?  

No, though a highlight is that improved conservation efforts will result without using taxpayer dollars.

Does the policy repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights, health and environmental protections?

It is critical for the act to promote and maintain meaningful partnerships with Black-led conservation organizations to ensure representation in decision-making processes that the needs and perspectives of Black Americans are considered in conservation efforts. The act aims to address historic inequities by promoting equitable distribution of conservation resources and benefits. Ensuring that Black communities receive their fair share of funding and support is crucial for addressing historical and systemic inequities in environmental conservation.

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