On June 8, the Senate passed the Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act to support innovation in conservation and wildlife management.

“Conservation is not a partisan issue,” as the Committee on Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Sen John Barrasso (R-WY) and ranking Member Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) describe the motivation behind the WILD Act.

This bipartisan act would not only fund conservation efforts for endangered species, but it would also drive innovation for new methods to overcome current issues such as poaching, trafficking and the management of invasive species.

On his webpage, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK) gives details of the bill:

  • 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 the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize competitions, which will award monetary prizes for technological innovation in the following categories:
    • the prevention of wildlife poaching and trafficking,
    • the promotion of wildlife conservation,
    • the management of invasive species,
    • the protection of endangered species, and
    • the use of nonlethal methods to control wildlife.

The Environment and Public Works Committee discovered that invasive species threaten the recovery of around 40 percent of endangered species. The Act will involve the protection of species such as Asian and African elephants, rhinoceros, marine turtles, great apes, tigers and marine turtles.

The Act was sent to the House on June 12.

Sources: U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, The Hill