Legislation to Protect Endangered Animals Signed into Law

The RAWR Act, authored by Senators Collins and Merkley, will help protect wildlife and cut off lucrative profit source for terrorists

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced that the Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act has been signed into law.  This bipartisan bill will help protect endangered animals by combatting wildlife trafficking and poaching. Specifically, the RAWR Act authorizes the State Department to offer financial rewards for information that leads to the disruption of wildlife trafficking networks.  The RAWR Act was included as part of the final appropriations packages.


“Wildlife trafficking is a transnational crime that requires a coordinated and sustained global effort to effectively combat it,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill is one step closer to becoming law, building upon efforts to deter this illegal activity by allowing the State Department to offer rewards for information to help stop wildlife traffickers.”


“When wildlife traffickers, poachers, and profiteers kill magnificent animals like elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, they degrade critical ecosystems and rob the world of a piece of our humanity and shared history on this planet,” said Senator Merkley. “It’s time to use every tool at our disposal to crack down on these destructive international crime networks. I’m grateful to our bipartisan coalition for pushing this legislation forward, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”


“Wildlife crimes undermine national security and cause immense cruelty to animals,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “We applaud Senator Collins for championing a creative solution to crack down on these international crimes and are grateful for her tremendous leadership on animal protection issues across the board.”


"The slaughter of wildlife for their parts is one of the greatest threats to rare species across the world," said Penny Eastman, deputy director of federal affairs at Animal Wellness Action. "Sen. Collins has stepped up again with this anti-wildlife trafficking measure to combat the merciless killing of the planet's wildlife."


Senators Collins and Merkley introduced the RAWR Act in May.


The RAWR Act is supported by a wide range of environmental and animal welfare groups, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Whistleblower Center, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society International, NRDC, African Wildlife Foundation, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Oregon Zoo.