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Omnibus Budget Passage is Good News for Wildlife

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Omnibus Budget Passage is Good News for Wildlife

Congress strikes a deal on funding bill that preserves important environmental programs for international conservation and the fight against wildlife trafficking

Several harmful policy riders, including one blocking a federal ivory ban, were stripped from the final bill

Sufficient funding was provided for the Global Environment Facility, U.S. Agency for International Development’s Biodiversity Program, Multinational Species Conservation Funds, and other important programs

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2015) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) regards Congress and the Administration’s agreement on an omnibus federal budget as a win for wildlife, as the sides struck a balanced approach that was free from most harmful policy riders and maintained or increased funding to stop wildlife trafficking by terrorist networks and other conservation priorities, including supporting the Global Environment Facility.

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

“We are pleased that the deal struck by Congress and the Administration on the omnibus budget represents a balanced approach to funding our government and enables the important work of conserving wildlife and wild places to continue.

“The funding levels contained in the bill are beneficial for wildlife and enhance our national security, especially support for the Global Environment Facility, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Biodiversity Program, the wildlife trafficking accounts in USAID and the Department of State, and the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. Wildlife trafficking is a serious crime conducted by organized crime networks that threatens some of our most iconic species with extinction. We need to ensure that our government and the international community can continue to fight against trafficking to protect the remaining elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered species.

“While earlier versions of the funding bills contained toxic policy riders, the final omnibus budget removed the worst ones, including one that would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from revising the 4(d) rule to enact a ban on domestic ivory trade and one prohibiting funds to implement the National Ocean Policy, a plan to coordinate federal ocean policy across multiple agencies. The budget also provided valuable funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Americans are concerned about the fate of iconic wildlife around the world and the U.S. government’s actions to conserve them, based on the hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Congress on these issues. While the budget is not perfect, we are appreciative that both political parties came together to produce a budget that accounts for these priorities."

 

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WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

96 Elephants (www.96elephants.org) – named for the number of elephants currently gunned down each day by poachers – is a WCS campaign that focuses on: securing effective U.S. moratorium laws; bolstering elephant protection with additional funding; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign brings together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.