World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for Wildlife Conservation has issued the following statement in response to last night's U.S. Senate decision to unanimously pass the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S.231):
“This highly successful and innovative program provides individuals with an easy way to help protect our planet’s most iconic and endangered wildlife every time they mail a letter,” Hemley said.
"World Wildlife Fund commends Congress' decision to continue this program, particularly at a time when we are in the midst of a global poaching crisis threatening the survival of elephants, rhinos and tigers," said Hemley. "This program allows individuals to support U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to stop wildlife crime and combat the responsible criminal networks at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. We are extremely grateful to Senators Portman and Udall and Representative Grimm for championing this legislation, and for the leadership shown by Senators Carper and Levin and Representative Crenshaw in moving it through their respective committees. As demonstrated by the continued bipartisan support for this important program, the fight to save vanishing species is one we can all back."
Introduced and championed by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Udall (D-NM), the bill reauthorizes the Save Vanishing Species semi-postal stamp to be sold through 2017. Proceeds from the stamp support on-the-ground efforts to save elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered species. The program has sold over 25 million stamps, raising over $2.5 million dollars.
Similar language reauthorizing the stamp also passed in the House of Representatives in July after being championed by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY). Congress created the Save Vanishing Species stamp in 2011 with bipartisan support, culminating a 10-year effort led by WWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Postal Service, and other international conservation organizations, including the Wildlife Conservation Society.