Specialized Save Vanishing Species Stamps Will Benefit Existing Wildlife Protection Funds at No Cost to American Taxpayers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2011) – America got its first look today at a new wildlife stamp that will be issued by the U.S. Postal Service in September 2011 to benefit international wildlife conservation. Net proceeds from sale of the Save Vanishing Species stamp, which features an illustration of a tiger cub by artist Nancy Stahl, directly contribute to funding for projects supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF), which are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, African elephants and Asian elephants. The Wildlife Conservation Society was a leader in the effort to pass federal legislation creating the stamp, which was signed into law in September 2010.

“This beautiful tiger stamp represents a tremendous opportunity for all Americans to help conserve the world’s most iconic species,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “As an organization that works with the Fish and Wildlife Service, WCS knows that the conservation of imperiled species will be greatly enhanced by the infusion of more resources especially through creative funding mechanisms such as the wildlife stamp that have no impact on the U.S. taxpayer.”

The Save Vanishing Species stamps will be available at Post Office locations nationwide in September 2011, as well as at Wildlife Conservation Society parks. They will sell for 11 cents greater than a First Class Mail stamp — 55 cents — and $11 for a sheet of 20.  

“This stamp marks the fourth semipostal issued by the Postal Service. These types of stamps provide an extremely convenient way for the American public to contribute to help protect threatened and vanishing species,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Multinational Species Coalition to make this stamp a resounding success.”

“The stamp provides a unique opportunity for the American public to work with the federal government to contribute to saving some of our most beloved threatened species,” said Herb Raffaele, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation. “A commitment to the stamp will demonstrate that Americans really care about wildlife conservation abroad.”

H.R. 1454, the bill creating the stamp, passed through the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support in December 2009 under the leadership of Reps. Henry Brown (R-SC) and Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).  The legislation passed the Senate in July 2010 thanks to Senate champions of the legislation including Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Tom Udall (D-NM).  The bill was signed into law by President Obama in September 2010.  An analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the bill’s implementation “would have no significant discretionary cost to the Federal government.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s MSCF program supports the conservation of many of the world’s most charismatic species. Despite the modest size of this program, its support is very broad‐based, including more than 20 million members of the Multinational Species Coalition. This program also stimulates public‐private partnerships and has leveraged more than three times as much in matching funds from conservation groups, corporations and other governments.

WCS has strongly advocated for the MSCF Semipostal Stamp Act since it was introduced and helped lead a coalition representing millions of Americans in support of the bill.  In May 2009, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science Dr. John Robinson testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans & Wildlife in support of the bill.  Through a campaign of WCS’s “Take Action” online advocacy program, 15,927 WCS supporters sent a total of 28,615 letters to their Senators in 2010 urging them to pass the MSCF Semipostal Stamp Act.

Chip Weiskotten: (202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org)
Mary Dixon: (347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org)

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide.  We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.  Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.