The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans has passed two bills that provide funding for programs that protect endangered rhinos, tigers and elephants:
n H.R. 50, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act of 2000, to reauthorize the African Elephant Conservation Act and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994.
n H.R. 465, the Asian Elephant Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2007, to reauthorize the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997.
Both bills were favorably reported yesterday to the full committee. Funding from these bills would help to provide grants for anti-poaching patrols, habitat protection, population surveys, public education, disease control, and efforts to resolve human-animal conflict. Over the past 16 years, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds have provided more than $43.8 million in conservation assistance, leveraging more than $115.6 Million in non-federal support.
“WWF applauds the Subcommittee for its action, and we strongly urge that these programs be reauthorized and that H.R. 50 and H.R. 465 be enacted into law,” said Sybille Klenzendorf, director of WWF’s species program. “In addition, we are encouraging the members of the Subcommittee to work with the appropriators, and as a committee, request adequate funding levels for this year.”
The United States, through the various laws protecting rhinos, elephants, and tigers, has provided funding for species in crisis that has helped stabilize their populations around the globe. For example, with support from the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act and several NGOs, the Russian government created anti-poaching brigades that have saved the Amur tiger from extinction. According to a recent report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring arm of WWF and the IUCN, poaching is rising again as a threat to the tiger’s existence in the wild. The report found that illegal tiger products are readily available in markets in China, a sign of the resurgence in poaching of tigers in Russia and India.