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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BASS. Madam Chair, this amendment considered en bloc would provide the Department of Defense the flexibility to train and equip wildlife reserve rangers to help combat illicit poaching across the African continent. Poaching and wildlife trafficking are not only a matter of conservation but a matter of international security.

As the ranking member of the Africa Subcommittee, I'm deeply troubled by the damaging impact poaching has on the economic stability of African nations. During my travels, African heads of state and ambassadors have expressed that poaching erodes the tourism industry, public safety, and regional security.

Various newspapers have reported that poaching and wildlife traffickers are more dangerous and militarized than ever before, with armed militias like Kony's Lord's Resistance Army and al Qaeda affiliates fueling conflicts with the profits from poached ivory and other animal products.

The Department of Defense can play a leading role in helping to provide the training required to protect wildlife and put an end to regional conflicts and instability fueled by poaching. Training in reconnaissance, apprehension, and effective field communication will better prepare park rangers.

I look forward to working with the chairman and ranking member.


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