WASHINGTON – Legislation to protect endangered and iconic animals, including leopards, cheetahs and gray wolves, passed a key congressional panel today and was cleared for a vote by the full U.S. House of Representatives. World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) chief scientist, Dr. Eric Dinerstein, testified in support of the bill at a hearing in September.
The legislation, H.R. 1464, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Conservation Act of 2007, would create new programs to restore populations of great cats and rare dogs and protect their habitats. It is modeled on existing conservation laws, which have been highly successful in protecting elephants, tigers, great apes, and sea turtles, Dinerstein said.
The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee by a voice vote.
During his testimony before the Committee in September, Dinerstein noted that the bill enjoys strong support throughout the scientific and environmental community. “With previous versions introduced in the 109th and 108th Congresses, this bill has a long history and widespread support among a broad coalition of stakeholders totaling more than 80 organizations,” he testified.
“Great cats and rare dogs comprise some of the most endangered and iconic animals on the planet,” said Sybille Klenzendorf, Director of Species Conservation for WWF. “By establishing new conservation programs and creating funding streams to carry them out, H.R. 1464 will help ensure these majestic creatures roam the wild for generations to come.”
Jason Patlis, WWF’s Vice President and Managing Director of U.S. Government Relations added: “Establishing conservation programs for great cats and rare dogs has been a top priority of WWF for several years. We are very pleased that this bill has now passed the Natural Resources Committee and is ready for a vote on the House floor.
“I commend Congressman Tom Udall (D-N.M.) for introducing this bill and being a tireless advocate for wildlife protection, and I thank Chairman Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.V.) and Chairwoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) for their leadership in moving the bill through the Natural Resources Committee.”
Note to editors:
Dr. Eric Dinerstein’s testimony from the September 6, 2007 House Natural Resources Committee hearing is available on the WWF website: http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/howwedoit/policy/WWFBinaryitem7109.pdf.
About World Wildlife Fund
For more than 45 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level, from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature. Go to worldwildlife.org to learn more.