Jan 152015

Before the 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty banned the ivory trade, poaching had decimated African elephant populations from 1.3 million in 1970 to only 625,000. Ivory largely went out of vogue in 1990 after 150 countries belonging to CITES effectively banned trading in elephant products. Poaching and hunting decreased and elephant populations recovered. Several African countries then removed elephants from their endangered species list, and the legalized trade in elephant parts resumed. Opponents of the ivory trade say any existence of legal markets will stimulate demand and encourage poaching in countries such as Congo and Kenya where elephants remain threatened and wildlife patrols are inadequate. It is estimated that about 100,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks by poachers between 2010 and 2012 alone. Worldwide demand for ivory is being driven up by the growing economic power of Chinese consumers and by Africans with little alternative income. Chinese criminals as well as embassy officials smuggle large numbers of poached elephant tusks from Tanzania each year. These networks supply 90% of the demand for Chinese ivory. However, after China, our country is the next largest market for illicit ivory, which can be legally purchased here due to a loophole in the CITES treaty which permits the sale of “antique” ivory. The Obama administration believes much of the ivory sold here, claimed to be antique, has actually been recently poached. It wants to ban the interstate sale, import and export of all ivory products unless they are proven to be legitimately antique. Critics say these rules penalize many collectors and dealers who may now be unable to sell their legitimate ivory collections and inventories.

World wild-tiger populations have plummeted from 100,000 in 1900 to about 7,500 today. Tigers are disappearing due to the destruction of their natural habitat, uncontrolled hunting, poaching, and a thriving international black market in tiger parts. Half of the Earth’s remaining wild tigers live in India. This nation also leads the world in efforts to preserve tiger habitat and protect tiger populations against hunting and poaching. It is waging a battle against animal part traders interested in the tiger’s skin, organs and bones. Demand is strong in countries such as Thailand, China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

Many ecologists believe rhinoceroses also face inevitable extinction due to loss of habitat and poaching for their horn. Yemen, China, Taiwan and South Korea are the main markets for this trade. The African black rhino, located south of the Sahara Desert, has experienced the steepest decline. Its population is now estimated to be about 4,800. The poaching epidemic which began in the 1970s has effectively eliminated up to 90% of black rhino populations living outside conservation areas. It also severely reduced the numbers of rhinos in these national parks and reserves. Organized poaching gangs are the biggest threat facing the African black rhino, whose horn is prized in Asian medicine. Some of these animals are being relocated to safer areas where their safety is more securely guarded. However, the West African black rhino has recently been declared extinct since the last one was spotted in its Cameroonian habitat 7 years ago. Last year, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa, home to at least 26,000 African rhinos, or about 80% of the total African rhinoceros population.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.39 – Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current elephant, tiger and rhinoceros parts trade policy and wish to defeat H.R.39

I support authorizing appropriations to carry out the African Elephant Conservation Act, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994, and the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997 for 2014-2018, and wish to pass H.R.39

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015

The 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted by congress to prevent the extinction of threatened and endangered species of fish, plants and wildlife. The protections of this act are strong. The ESA is used to determine the minimum flow-rate for rivers, the approval of pesticide use and to evaluate the environmental effects of proposed developments. Once a species is listed as endangered, taking its life or destroying its habitat becomes illegal. This listing often results in the loss of land for use or development. Critics of the ESA listing and delisting process include oil, timber and mining interests, real estate developers and some farmers. They often disagree with the protection of what they consider are insignificant populations of species at the expense of human uses. ESA proponents claim successful habitat preservation and species-recovery programs have led to the recovery of many endangered species including the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, American Alligator, Gray Whale and the American and Arctic Peregrine Falcons.

Pending Legislations:

S.1175 & H.R.2280 – Infrastructure Facilitation & Habitat Conservation Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current Endangered Species Act policy and wish to defeat S.1175

I support providing loans and loan guarantees to enable state political subdivisions to acquire interests in real property pursuant to habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and wish to pass S.1175 & H.R.2280

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015

Worldwide trafficking in endangered animals, animal parts and oils is the World’s third most lucrative form of smuggling – topped only by the illegal drug and arms trades. It is estimated the global trade in endangered animals is a $20 billion-a-year industry, with nearly $3 billion of this amount coming from people in our country. Nearly 40% of this total, or about 40 million creatures, are poached from the Amazon Rain Forest in Brazil, Earth’s most diversified region. These creatures include butterflies and insects, alligators, snakes, panthers, tiny tamarin primates, finches, parrots and macaws. The Amazon turtle, manatee and pink river dolphin are amongst some of the species harvested for their body parts and oils. As an international issue, animal welfare advocates say the only solution to reduce or stop endangered species trafficking is to coordinate education and enforcement with other nations and agencies.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming endangered species trafficking policy

I support strengthening endangered species trafficking laws, promoting public awareness, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce H.R.3086 – Global Wildlife Conservation, Coordination, and Enhancement Act of 2009 (111th Congress 2009-2010)

 Posted by at 12:00 am