• Bi-Partisan Group Led the Charge for New Funding Mechanism for Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos, Great Apes and Marine Turtles
  • Specialized Stamps Will Benefit Existing Wildlife Protection Funds at No Cost to American Taxpayers  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 30, 2010) – The Wildlife Conservation Society applauded today’s Senate passage of H.R. 1454, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act. In essence, the bill provides for the issuance of a special U.S. Postal Service stamp whose premium price would 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.  Its passage has been a major legislative objective of WCS and represents a victory for supporters of wildlife and fiscally responsible governance.

“I thank the U.S. Senate, Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) for their leadership in helping pass this very important piece of legislation,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “The conservation of imperiled species is greatly enhanced by the infusion of more resources especially through creative funding mechanisms such as sale of semi‐postal stamps that have no impact on the U.S. taxpayer.”

H.R. 1454 passed through the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support in December 2009 under the leadership of Reps. Brown and Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).  Other important Senate champions of the legislation include Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Tom Udall (D-NM).  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 (FWS) 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.

The stamp would offer a convenient way for the public to support MSCF operations with proceeds going to conservation projects.  It would be sold at U.S. Post Offices nationwide as well as institutions like zoos and aquariums and it would depict highly imperiled species such as African and Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes or marine turtles.

WCS has strongly advocated for the MSCF Semipostal Stamp Act since it was introduced and led 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.

As a steering partner of a diverse Multinational Species Coalition consisting of 21 global groups, WCS has helped ensure the protection of global priority species such as tigers, African and Asian elephants, great apes and marine turtles.

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.

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation