Legislation signed into law to help better protect endangered animals

Published: Jan. 4, 2020 at 11:45 AM EST
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The Rescuing Animals With Rewards, or the RAWR (roar) Act, was authored by Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon. The bipartisan bill will help protect endangered animals by combatting wildlife trafficking and poaching. The RAWR Act authorizes the State Department to offer financial rewards for information that leads to the disruption of wildlife trafficking networks.

"We had a warden from Africa here a couple months ago, and that's part of what he does over in Malawi is they protect - they protect rhinos and elephants, and they use machine guns to do so. I mean, it's - it's real. So if some of the - obviously, for there to be an illegal trafficking of wildlife parts, there's gotta be a demand for it somewhere."

RAWR (roar) was largely designed to protect larger species more commonly found in Africa, such as elephants and giraffes, but may also benefit species found in the U.S. While it will help address things like the illegal importation of ivory into the U.S., it may also factor into the illegal exportation of animal products from North America. Haskell says it wasn't long ago bears were being poached in the United States and body parts shipped illegally to Asia for medicinal purposes. He says the reward serves as an incentive for others to report such activities.