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WWF-Backed Wildlife Protection Bill Clears U.S. House

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2008 – Legislation to protect endangered and iconic animals, including leopards, cheetahs and African wild dogs, passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.  World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) chief scientist 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 2008, would create new programs and dedicated funding to restore populations of rare wild cat and dog species and protect their habitats.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 249 to 119.

“This bipartisan bill will help ensure that threatened wild felid and canid species – rare cats and dogs and some of the most iconic animals on the planet – will continue to roam the wild for generations to come,” said Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, Director of Species Conservation for WWF. 

“H.R. 1464 has been a long time in the making,” said Jason Patlis, WWF’s Vice President and Managing Director of U.S. Government Relations.  “Establishing conservation programs for great cats and rare dogs has been a top priority of WWF for several years.  I am pleased that the bill has now passed the House and hope that the Senate will take it up in an expeditious manner.”

In testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee in September, WWF chief scientist Dr. Eric 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. 

H.R. 1464 was introduced by the four co-chairs of the House International Conservation Caucus: Representatives Tom Udall (D-NM), John Tanner (D-TN), Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Ed Royce (R-CA).

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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.