Bill to Protect Rare Cats Worldwide - U.S. taxpayers to fund international endangered cats, dogs as listed by United Nations & Endangered Species Act
Not content just to waste tax dollars here at home, two U.S. Representatives, Clay Shaw, (R-FL) and Tom Udall (D-NM), have sponsored "The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2004," to throw away our money overseas.
The bill provides U. S. taxpayer dollars for the conservation of rare wild cats and wild dogs around the world that are listed as endangered or threatened by the United Nations and the U. S. Endangered Species Act.
Nicholas Lapham, vice president for policy at Conservation International is giddy at the prospect saying, "[T]his bill is an important contribution to U. S. efforts aimed at helping to conserve some of the world's most cherished and imperiled animals."
The bill names habitat loss and habitat depredation as two of the reasons the 37 wild cats and 35 wild dogs are in need of our tax dollars. "Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems and, because they require large wild spaces to persist, benefit entire ecosystems and a large number of other species," the bill states.
Wildlife Groups Back Bipartisan Bill to Help Lions, Wolves
WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2004 (ENS) - Five wildlife conservation groups are supporting a bill introduced in the House last week to provide funding for the protection of wild felines and wild canids anywhere in the world that they are in danger.
The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2004 was introduced July 13 by Congressmen Clay Shaw, a Florida Republican, and Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat.
It is supported by Defenders of Wildlife, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.
"This bill is an important contribution to U.S. efforts aimed at helping to conserve some of the world’s most cherished and imperiled animals. It underscores the recognition that assisting other nations in sustainably managing their natural resources offers a powerful and worthwhile opportunity for American leadership," said Nicholas Lapham, vice president for policy at Conservation International.
The legislation would establish a fund for the conservation of rare wild cats and wild dogs that are listed by the IUCN-World Conservation Union, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
"Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all are currently recognized as species in need of protection under the IUCN Red List, the lists of species in CITES appendices I, II, and III, or the Endangered Species Act of 1973," the bill states. "Of the 35 wild canid species worldwide, nearly 50 percent are recognized as in need of such protection."
Rare felids and canids face an array of threats, the bill states, including loss of habitat and natural prey, intentional and unintentional takings by humans, and disease transmission.
Their conservation requires "global commitment," and must be addressed in a coordinated manner, the bill states.
Canids identified in the bill as specifically in need of protection are a subspecies or population of dhole (Cuon alpinus), the gray wolf (Canis lupus), the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), and the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus).
Felids named as in need of protection are the lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), jaguar (Panthera onca), snow leopard (Uncia uncia), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and Iberian lynx (Lynx pardina).
"The wild cat and dog species protected by this bill face a growing host of threats. Loss of habitat and habitat degradation, poaching and exploitation for skins and medicinal trades, disease, and pollution are all taking their toll," said Nina Fascione, vice president of field conservation for Defenders of Wildlife. "Fortunately, many of these threats are controllable. Today’s bill sets up a fund to assist in the conservation of these important species."
"This bill is a natural complement to other Multinational Species Conservation Funds established by Congress which contribute immensely to the conservation of flagship species," said Tom Dillon, director of species conservation for World Wildlife Fund. "The population of critically endangered black rhinos, for instance, has increased by 50 percent in just 10 years, from 2,400 to 3,600, thanks to funding from the U.S. and matching grants from private and public sources."
"Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems and, because they require large wild spaces to persist, benefit entire ecosystems and a large number of other species," the bill reasons. "Measures taken to benefit these keystone species will ultimately benefit a great number of other species."
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