Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined with committee ranking member Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to introduce S. 826, the Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act.
The WILD Act will promote wildlife conservation, assist in the management of invasive species, and help protect endangered species. The bipartisan legislation will reauthorize government conservation programs. It will also establish prize competitions to prevent illegal poaching and trafficking, manage invasive species, promote conservation, and protect endangered wildlife.
"We must be good stewards of wildlife," said Barrasso. "The WILD Act promotes innovation to safeguard threatened wildlife and helps manage invasive species. This bipartisan conservation legislation will combat illegal poaching, reward groundbreaking ways to protect wildlife, and help keep invasive species under control."
"When our country has faced challenges, we have always found ways to innovate and the same must be true when it comes to addressing the threat that invasive species present to our native fish, wildlife and plants," said Carper. "This legislation will help spur much-needed creativity and bolster our efforts to find new and better ways to manage wildlife and give these creatures a fighting chance, while also finding smart approaches to dealing with invasive species that cause billions of dollars of harm each year. I'm pleased Chairman Barrasso and I worked together on this bill, and I hope my colleagues will join us in supporting it."
"I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the WILD Act which reauthorizes the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program I authored over 10 years ago," said Inhofe. "Programs like Partners for Fish and Wildlife have been developing successful partnerships between landowners and conservation groups for decades. Furthermore, the WILD Act creates new and unique opportunities to promote wildlife conservation and manage invasive species. This legislation is another example of bipartisan efforts to safeguard our environment and ensure the wildlife in our states are appropriately protected. I look forward to seeing this legislation through the senate with Sens. Barrasso, Carper, Booker, Boozman, and Whitehouse."
"Scientists estimate that more than one in six species are threatened with extinction in this century," said Booker. "We must do more to protect endangered species, and we must do more to coexist with wildlife. The bipartisan WILD Act takes several important steps toward this goal, including promoting nonlethal solutions to managing conflicts between people and wildlife."
"From declining whale populations off Narragansett Bay to elephant poaching in Africa, we can do more to protect wildlife and their habitats from the serious threats they face," said Whitehouse. "This bipartisan bill will help us do a better job facing down those threats and conserving wildlife for future generations."
The WILD Act is also supported by both World Wildlife Fund and the Family Farm Alliance:
"The WILD Act demonstrates that conserving our planet's magnificent wildlife is an issue we can all agree on," said Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "It catalyzes technological innovations that reduce poaching. It reauthorizes critical partnership programs with US Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. This bipartisan bill can help advance the cause of wildlife conservation both in the United States and around the world."
"The Family Farm Alliance has consistently supported the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, which helps to fund habitat work on private lands," said Patrick O'Toole, the president of the Family Farm Alliance and a Wyoming rancher. "Western farmers and ranchers know that partnerships -- not top-heavy regulations and litigation -can best provide for real species protections and recoveries. Our members also have strong concerns regarding the need to emphasize the proper management of invasive species. This bill places priority on the Partners Program and addresses the critical challenges Western water users face regarding invasive species management."
Specifically, the WILD Act will:
Reauthorize and fund the Department of the Interior's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program until fiscal year 2022;
Require federal agencies to implement strategic programs to control invasive species;
Reauthorize legislation to protect endangered species such as elephants, great apes, tigers, and others;
Establish monetary-prize competitions for technological innovation in the following categories:
the prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking,
the promotion of wildlife conservation,
the management of invasive species, and
the protection of endangered species.