After One Year of Success, the Wildlife Stamp Benefitting Species May Be Endangered

WCS now fighting for reauthorization of the wildlife stamp in Congress for an additional four years

Successful first year has raised more than $1.5 million to help save tigers, elephants, great apes, rhinos and other species

Washington, D.C. – September 21, 2012 – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) celebrated this week the first anniversary of the release of the Save Vanishing Species postage stamp.

The wildlife stamp’s first year qualifies as a major success, as 14.9 million tiger stamps have sold since it was unveiled, generating $1.58 for species conservation programs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has just begun granting out the funds brought in by the stamp to global conservation projects.

The wildlife stamp features an illustration of a tiger cub and supports efforts to save species like elephants, tigers, and great apes at no cost to taxpayers. Because the stamp allows citizens to contribute directly to the FWS conservation programs through the purchase of the stamps, 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.”

While sales are brisk, the wildlife stamp is still at risk to join its beneficiaries as “endangered”: if Congress does not take action, the stamp will cease after another year.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) introduced legislation that would extend the lifespan of the stamp by four years. The bills have attracted a bipartisan group of 114 co-sponsors in both houses of Congress.

“We have seen the way that the stamp has galvanized support for conservation among the American people over the past year,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “I urge Congress to keep the momentum going on this fiscally responsible funding source for the world’s most iconic species by reauthorizing the stamp for another four years.”

The Save Vanishing Species stamp went on sale in September 2011 and more than 14.9 million have been sold since then. The wildlife stamps are now available at Post Office locations nationwide and online at shop.usps.com or tigerstamp.com. They cost 10 cents greater than a First Class Mail stamp — 55 cents — and $11 for a sheet of 20. Also available is a special commemorative notecard set featuring the stamp’s image.

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.

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

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