U.S. Rep. José E. Serrano (D-Bronx) Honored for Leadership in Wildlife Conservation

Award Celebrates Dedication to State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, Which Need Congressional Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1, 2012) – The Bronx Zoo-headquartered Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) congratulated U.S. Rep. José E. Serrano (D-Bronx) for receiving the Teaming With Wildlife Award, celebrating champions of wildlife conservation.

The Teaming With Wildlife Coalition, within which WCS serves as a steering committee member, is comprised of more than 6,300 state fish and wildlife agencies, wildlife biologists, hunters, anglers, birdwatchers, hikers, nature-based businesses, and other conservationists. The group is dedicated to preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.

Rep. Serrano has steadfastly stood with WCS in supporting wildlife and the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program within the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. Over the past 12 years, New York has received over $33 million from State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, a program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“State and Tribal Wildlife Grants have a long track record of success in helping states implement proactive, non-regulatory, incentive-based conservation for threatened species here in our own backyard,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “Not only that, but they act as an economic engine and job creator, contributing to the $1.06 trillion in total economic activity and 9.4 million jobs that are part of outdoor recreation, nature conservation and historic preservation. The wildlife conservation community needs more champions in Washington like Rep. Serrano to make sure this efficient, accountable program is able to continue to do good work.”

Rep. José E. Serrano said, “I am proud to work with my friends at the Bronx Zoo to advocate for programs that benefit the environment like the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants. These sorts of environmental funding sources must not dry up in today's anti-spending atmosphere. In addition to their environmental impact, they support vital jobs and science."

Today, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program is in need of support in Washington. The Fiscal Year 2013 President’s budget requested $61.3M for the program, which is the same as the FY12 request. However, the program has been cut by 32% since FY10 when it was funded at $90M. Strong Congressional support is needed to leverage tens of millions of dollars in state, private and tribal matching funds.

In December, WCS announced that Bronx and Queens Zoo animal experts partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to uncover a mysterious threat that is causing a decline in northern cricket frogs, a tiny frog native to New York and other areas in the eastern United States. Locations of cricket frog populations within New York have dropped from 25 to only three or four over the last 10 years. The study, which was funded by State Wildlife Grants, aims to figure out exactly why the species are vanishing by collecting swabs from the frogs and other area amphibians and testing them for disease at the Bronx Zoo's molecular diagnostics laboratory.

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 towards 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.

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