WASHINGTON  (December 5, 2017) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) released a statement on the Administration’s recent announcements regarding national monuments.

The following statement was released by WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli:

“This week, President Trump and his Administration announced their intention to dramatically reduce the size of several national monuments. Such an action, along with similar legislation under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, seeks to undermine one of the most important conservation tools in America, the Antiquities Act. Far from protecting America’s natural wonders, undermining this law would only make it much more difficult to conserve the last wild areas of our country which act as recreational opportunities, economic drivers and critical wildlife habitat.

“President Teddy Roosevelt, whose work with the New York Zoological Society (predecessor of the Wildlife Conservation Society) helped make him one of the country’s greatest conservationists, used the Antiquities Act to safeguard natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and Devils Tower as national monuments for future generations.

“Protected areas, including national monuments and marine monuments, are essential to prevent the loss of endangered species and threatened wild nature. They provide important reproductive and foraging habitat and also support connectivity for species that must migrate to survive, especially as they adapt to loss of habitat and rapidly changing conditions.  

“In the U.S., millions of Americans flock to national monuments for recreation, pumping billions of dollars into local economies. Research continues to show that populated areas adjacent to newly created national monuments have seen notable economic benefits.

“There are myriad scientific and economic reasons why the Antiquities Act, as it exists today, and the monuments created by it should remain intact. The most important, though, may be the simplest: it protects America’s wildest and most unique places, and that’s how most Americans want it.”