WCS Applauds House and Senate Spending Bill Markups that Maintain Support for Biodiversity and Anti-Poaching

Washington, DC – July 30, 2013The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) applauded the results of the Fiscal Year 2014 markups held last week by the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on State and Foreign Operations as well as both full Appropriations Committees, which recommended solid support for key biodiversity and anti-poaching conservation programs.

The Senate-produced spending bill designates $225 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development Biodiversity Program, an increase over previous years. In addition, it calls for $45 million in spending on anti-trafficking and anti-poaching measures and $143 million for the U.S. contribution to the Global Environment Facility. The bill also protects key accounts supporting programs in the Andean Amazon, Maya Biosphere, Central Africa and other critical landscapes. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations is led by chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The bill produced by the House Appropriations Committee, which was guided by State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) and ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), included $200 million for USAID biodiversity programs. The House bill made the same designation of $45 million for programs to combat wildlife trafficking and poaching as the Senate did.

“Over the past few months, we have seen momentum build within the U.S. government for the direct confrontation of poaching and the organized criminal syndicates behind the large-scale slaughter of wildlife,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “This appropriations bill is a reflection of that momentum. We applaud the actions of both House and Senate committees and their leaders in recognizing this as a foreign policy priority.”

Anti-poaching and wildlife trafficking measures have recently received high-profile support from President Obama, in the form of an Executive Order creating a wildlife trafficking task force and dedicating $10 million for law enforcement capacity, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who recently pledged to use her political connections to help curtail the illegal ivory trade during a meeting at WCS’s Central Park Zoo.

WCS believes that in order to save elephants and rhinos, it is imperative to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. Without addressing each of these three segments, well-organized poaching networks will continue to decimate these dwindling populations.

Media Contacts:
Chip Weiskotten: (1-202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org)
Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@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. Visit: www.wcs.org

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