African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has issued an official statement in support of "The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act Reauthorization," introduced today by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The END Wildlife Trafficking Act is an instrumental policy that provides added support for law enforcement agencies in Africa to interdict, investigate, and prosecute wildlife offenders.
Didi Wamukoya, AWF's lead on Wildlife Law Enforcement, stated: "END Wildlife Trafficking Act has helped African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and partner governments to develop and field innovative programs to disrupt illegal wildlife trade, including deployment of conservation detection dogs at major trafficking hubs to sniff out illegal wildlife products. The support provided by this Act, and distributed by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and USAID has enabled AWF and its partners to push for a comprehensive review of wildlife laws in Kenya and Uganda, which now prescribe punitive penalties for wildlife trafficking among other procedural improvements in handling wildlife crime.
"In addition, support made possible by the END Wildlife Trafficking Act helped AWF to build and strengthen wildlife law enforcers' capacities through training and equipping. This involved enhanced inter-agency collaboration to enforce wildlife laws, cross-border policing, and regional collaboration."
While there have been many improvements attributed to END, wildlife poaching and trafficking remain a challenge, particularly in the current economic landscape. Some African countries are witnessing an upsurge in poaching due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on the reauthorization, AWF External Affairs Director Edwin Tambara said, "It is imperative to protect and build on the gains achieved so far in combatting wildlife trafficking in Africa. That's why support for the "END Wildlife Trafficking Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2020" is critical – to continue organized and coordinated efforts from the United States Government to protect and further these gains in combating wildlife trafficking across the world."